New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to ameliorate the plight of the farmers.
Noting that the samba crops in Tamil Nadu would be adversely affected, a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit directed Karnataka to ensure water supply to Tamil Nadu.
The apex court also directed Tamil Nadu to approach the supervisory committee within three days for the release of Cauvery water as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).
The Supreme Court also asked the supervisory committee to decide on Tamil Nadu’s plea in ten days from today.
“We think it’s appropriate to direct Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for ten days,” the bench said, while also directing Tamil Nadu to release water to Puducherry appropriately as per its interim arrangement.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on September 16.
On September 2, the Supreme Court had made an emotional appeal to Karnataka saying ‘live and let live’, after Tamil Nadu brought to the notice of the court that Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had said that not a drop of water would be released.
In a recent plea, Tamil Nadu had sought a direction to Karnataka to release 50.52 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of Cauvery water to save 40,000 acres of samba crops this season.
In reply, Karnataka had said that it had a deficit of about 80 tmcft in its four reservoirs.
Senior lawyer, F.S. Nariman, who appeared for Karanataka, said that there were “rain deficit months” in the recent past and it was difficult to release water to Tamil Nadu.
He said the tribunal had not provided for an alternative for Karnataka on the point of release of water during distress months.
The apex court had earlier refused to give an urgent hearing to Tamil Nadu’s plea for setting up a Cauvery Management Board for implementation of the CWDT award.
At the directions of the apex court, the Centre, in 2013, had notified the final award of the CWDT on sharing the Cauvery system’s water among the basin states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the union territory of Puducherry.
The CWDT had recommended the setting up of a Cauvery management board or authority, on the lines of the Bhakra- Beas Management Board, for implementation of the order.
The board, in turn, would constitute a Cauvery water regulation committee for assistance.
The tribunal, in a unanimous decision in 2007, had determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin, at 740tmcft at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site, including 14 tmcft for environmental protection and seepage into the sea.
The final award made an annual allocation of 419 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry.