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Cauvery row erupts; Jaya claims K'taka denying water

Last updated on: May 19, 2012 17:24 IST

The Cauvery row erupted again on Saturday with Tamil Nadu accusing Karnataka of "unjustly utilising" the river water and demanding a meeting of Cauvery river authority to discuss the issue but the neighbouring state dismissed the charge and opposed the CRA meet proposal.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charging Karnataka with "unjustly utilising" the inter-state river water for summer irrigation from February to May by depleting storage in its four major reservoirs, affecting inflows into her state.

She said the combined gross storage in the four major reservoirs of Karnataka was 58.50 TMC ft as of February 1, 2012 and it had come down to 28.178 TMC ft on May 14.

"Karnataka had depleted a storage of about 30.33 TMC ft from 1.2.2012 to 14.5.2012, besides utilizing the flows of about 11 TMC ft."

Due to depletion of storage, Karnataka "impounds" initial monsoon flows in its dams and released water only when they become surplus, she claimed, adding, this affected inflows into Mettur Dam.

"This consequently affects Kuruvai (short term) paddy crop very badly and also delays cultivation of Samba (long term) crop in the state", she said with her missive coming ahead of the usual release of water from Mettur Dam in June to Cauvery delta region for Kuruvai crop.

However, Karnataka maintained it was ensuring release of water in excess of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's order and saw no need for the CRA meeting.

"There is no need for convening the meeting of CRA. Karnataka has released more water to Tamil Nadu in the last four years. This has been confirmed by the central water commission water gauging station", Karnataka Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters in Bengaluru. He said the tribunal in its order had asked the state to ensure 192 tmc ft of water to the neighbouring state every year. "We have released more water in the last four years."

"When it is pending before the Supreme Court and Tribunal there is no need for any talks", Bommai asserted.

Jayalalithaa said a solution was eluding the finalisation of distress sharing formula evolved by the central water commission, ultimately depriving Tamil Nadu of adequate water, which should have been released by Karnataka either as per the tribunal's interim order or by the formula evolved. She alleged that Karnataka was also not furnishing year-wise details of the area under irrigation though the Tribunal's interim order specifies that Karnataka shall not increase its area under irrigation beyond 11.20 lakh acres.

Asking Dr Singh to convene the meeting of the authority, Jayalalithaa said the issue of notifying the tribunal's final order in the central gazette should also be discussed.

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