Acting on a petition of the Tamil Nadu government for early release of Cauvery water by
Karnataka, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Cauvery River Monitoring Committee consisting of officials of the two states to meet latest by August 12 to discuss the issue and give its recommendations to the Cauvery River Water Authority headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
A bench comprising Chief Justice B N Kirpal, Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Arijit Pasayat directed Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to send their representatives to the Monitoring Committee, which it said, would give its recommendations to the CRWA within two weeks of the meeting.
The bench then requested the CRWA, which also includes the chief ministers of the two states, to meet as soon as possible after the submission of the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee.
The Court then fixed the hearing on Tamil Nadu's application, which had sought immediate release of water to save its Kuruvai (short-term) crop, for further hearing on September 2.
Tamil Nadu, which had threatened to pull out of the CRWA saying that it was doing nothing for the release of Cauvery water, through counsel K K Venugopal and A K Ganguly alleged that as against its share of 52 tmc feet water for the months of June and July, Karnataka had released only seven tmc feet water 'desertifying the Cauvery basin in the state'.
The Tamil Nadu counsel submitted that Karnataka was filling up all its reservoirs and releasing only additional water to Tamil Nadu spelling doom for the Kuruvai crop.
Last year, the state had filed a similar application seeking a direction from the Supreme Court to the state of Karnataka for release of at least one tmc feet water to save the Samba crops.
That application was termed as 'infructuous' by the state in view of the new application filed by it.
Appearing for Karnataka, senior advocate Fali Nariman contended that these grievances should be aired at the appropriate authority, as there was a scheme in place and an authority to monitor the implementation of the scheme.
Solicitor General Harish Salve appearing for the Centre suggested a meeting of the Cauvery Water Monitoring Committee with the participation of the representatives of the two states and then the recommendation of the Committee to be considered by the CRWA headed by the prime minister.
When Venugopal suggested that the process be expedited so that the Kuruvai crop could be saved, the bench said it had 'all the time on earth to hear arguments, but that would not solve the problem'.
"The matter has to be decided by the two parties by thrashing out the contentious issues," it said.
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