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New Delhi/Bangalore: Karnataka government was today directed by the Supreme Court to release 2.44 TMC Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu whose plea for 12 TMC water was refused.
A bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, which three-days back had allowed release of 2 TMC water, increased by 0.44 TMC the amount of water to be provided to Tamil Nadu on the recommendation of the Central Water Commission (CWC).
The bench also comprising justices J Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur directed Karnataka to release the water immediately. The court passed the order after going through the report submitted by an expert committee of CWC which said that only 10 per cent of cultivated land in Tamil Nadu needs water.
The committee said that 50 per cent of the arable land has already been cultivated and 40 per cent is on the verge of being cultivated and only the remaining 10 per cent requires water.
“Having heard the parties and taking consideration of the expert committee report, we are satisfied that the interest of justice would be met if Karnataka is directed to release 2.44 TMC of water,” the bench said.
On February 4, the apex court had directed Karnataka to release 2 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic feet) of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and had asked the CWC to file report on the water requirement of the two warring states.
The court had also asked the CWC to form a three-member expert body which will visit the states and directed it to file a report within two days.
Last month, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee had said that since current storage level in Karnataka was sufficient only to meet the state's drinking water requirements, it was not in a position to release water to Tamil Nadu.
The Cauvery River originates in Karnataka and meanders its way over almost 800 km in Tamil Nadu. The topography of the region means that Karnataka can control how much water is released downstream to Tamil Nadu.
Earlier on December 5, 2012 the Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to its neighbouring state and asked the CMC to hold a meeting to decide the amount of water required by each state.
Cusec is a measure of flow rate of water and is abbreviation for cubic feet per second (which is equivalent to a flow of 28.317 litres per second) and 11,000 cusecs flow for a day amounts to 1 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water.
The committee had then directed Karnataka to provide Tamil Nadu with 12 TMC of Cauvery water during December and did not pass any order for the month of January as the Centre had assured the apex court that it would notify the tribunal's award by December 31.
Next: Opposition protest in assembly
Opposition protest in assembly
Bangalore: The Supreme Court order directing Karnataka to release 2.44 tmc ft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu evoked protests from the opposition in the state assembly and the government promised them that legal opinion would be sought before deciding on future course of action.
As the agitated Congress and JDS urged the government against water release, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the House that he and Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai will leave for Delhi today for consultation with advocates appearing for the state.
Shettar said the apex court’s direction to Karnataka to release water forthwith is a matter of concern for farmers living in Cauvery basin and people of the state at large.
He said the government would take strong steps to protect the interests of farmers in Cauvery basin.
The chief minister rejected Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s demand for change of lawyers appearing for Karnataka on Cauvery issue and said the advocates have been placing all the facts on the existing situation including on drinking water problem and drought conditions.
“In spite of this, the SC has given instructions to release water to Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Bommai said the government is not in a hurry to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. “We will consult our lawyers before taking any legal step in the matter,” he said.
Siddaramaiah and JDS leader H D Revanna demanded that the government not release water.
JDS members staged dharna for a brief spell urging that no water should be released.
‘Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi’ President G Madegowda too demanded that the state not release water to Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, Karnataka Janata Party President B S Yeddyurappa launched his Mysore-Bangalore Padayatra and demanded that BJP should be ready to sacrifice power to protect the interest of the state on Cauvery issue.