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Cauvery water sharing: SC pulls up Karnataka

September 28, 2012 17:19 IST

The Supreme Court today pulled up the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the prime minister-headed Cauvery River Authority's (CRA) directive to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

A bench of justices D K Jain and Madan Lokur warned Karnataka that if it failed to comply with the CRA directive, it (the bench) will have to pass appropriate orders.

"This is the order passed by the CRA, headed by the prime minister. You don't want to comply with it. We are very sorry for the kind of respect you have for the highest authority. You comply with the directive or we will pass the order," the bench told the counsel appearing for the Karnataka government.

The apex court then directed the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water under the distress sharing formula from September 20 to October 15 and sought its reply within a week.

Earlier senior counsel C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, urged the apex court to direct the Union government under Article 355 of the Constitution to protect the state's interest.

He said the court may direct deployment of the Army in Karnataka to ensure compliance of the CRA order.

Under Article 355, it is the duty of the Union Government to protect states against external aggression, internal disturbances and to ensure that the governance of the state is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Karnataka on September 10 had agreed to release 10,000 cusecs of water from Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu till September 20 as a goodwill gesture.

The court was hearing an application by Tamil Nadu to direct Karnataka to release 2 TMC of water.

The apex court on last hearing had refused to pass any order on Tamil Nadu's plea in response to Karnataka's gesture and had hoped that the CRA would be able to find an "amicable" solution to the river water row in its September 19 meeting.

The bench, however, had clarified that it was only an interim arrangement till September 20 and the state governments can take appropriate steps if no solution of the problem comes out of the CRA meeting.

The CRA meeting held on September 19, had failed to produce a solution as both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had rejected the Prime Minister's award of 9,000 cusecs of water to save standing crops in the delta region.

The CRA, headed by the Prime Minister, comprises of chief ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.

The bench on September 3 had pulled up the PMO officials for not holding a CRA meeting to resolve the water-sharing row between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

In its application, Tamil Nadu had said during the current irrigation year 2012-2013, though the south west monsoon is not vigorous in the Cauvery catchment of Karnataka, the state of Karnataka has received 21.9 TMCft of inflow in its four major reservoirs up to July 20.

"But it has not shared the water with Tamil Nadu. Instead it started to build the storages in its 4 major reservoirs and letting water in the canals of Krishna Raja Sagar for irrigation with the result that the state of Tamil Nadu has been deprived of its due share of water as per the interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal," the application said.

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