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Home > News > PTI

Kerala moves SC on Cauvery issue

May 01, 2007 21:01 IST

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Complaining that it had been given a raw deal, the Kerala government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the February 5 award made by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal on distribution of the river water among the four southern states.

In a special leave petition filed before the apex court, Kerala had expressed apprehensions that the award if allowed to be implemented would seriously jeoparadise various pending and future irrigation projects planned by the state.

The state has charged the tribunal with adopting an arbitrary and irrational approach while framing the award and cited the allocation of a mere 30 Tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) to it, as against its claim of 99.8 Tmcft.      

According to Kerala, even the allocation of 30 tmcft was entirely illusory, if one takes into account that the state has very generously given from its own basins 31.3 Tmcft to the Cauvery basin area in Tamil Nadu. As a result, the net allocation for Kerala was now only 1.3 Tmcft, the state claimed.

Kerala submitted that by denying trans-basin transfers, the tribunal has deprived it the opportunity of completing important projects like Banasurasagar, Mananthvady and Kerala Bhavani, which together required 35 Tmcft of water from the Cauvery.

Finding fault with the method adopted by the CWDT in calculating the award, Kerala complained that the tribunal had taken the starting point, the inequitable imperial treaties of 1892 and 1924 to which the state was never a party.

The tribunal adopted an arbitrary system of gauging, wherein, Karnataka was required to release a fixed amount of only 192 Tmcft at Mettur and keep the rest of the riparian water, while Kerala has to release all waters other than the limited amount allocated to it, the state said in the petition.

On February 6, this year, the CWDT gave its final verdict in the decades-old politically sensitive row, allocating 419 Tmcft feet of water to Tamil Nadu out of 740 Tmcft available in the basin but the actual release by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu will be only 192 Tmcft annually.

In the final order running to over 1000 pages in five volumes, the three-member Tribunal headed by retired Justice N P Singh allocated 270 Tmcft of water for Karnataka, 30 Tmcft for Kerala and seven Tmcft for Puducherry in a 'normal' year.

The Tribunal, which was constituted in 1990 and had given an interim order allocating 205 Tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, said the final order will supersede the agreements of 1892 and 1924 between the then governments of Madras and Mysore.

The setting up of the Tribunal by the National Front government in 1990 was opposed by Karnataka which had also enacted a law against the interim award that was later struck down by the Supreme Court.

The interim award had also triggered anti-Tamil riots in Bangalore and some basin districts in Karnataka. The order shall come into operation from the date it is notified by the Central government under the Inter-state Water Disputes Act.

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