Police presence has been stepped up in the light of the SC hearing on Tuesday

Cauvery Supervisory Committee tells Ktaka to release 3000 cusecs of water to TN for 10 daysKRS dam, Mandya / PTI
news Cauvery Dispute Monday, September 19, 2016 - 17:27

The Cauvery Supervisory Committee on Monday ordered the Karnataka government to release 3,000 cusecs of river water daily to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and 30 but that state did not agree, a senior officer said.

"After we failed to evolve a consensus, we passed an order that Karnataka will have to release 3,000 cusecs of water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu daily from September 21 to 30. This order is binding on them," Shashi Shekhar, Committee Chairman and Water Resources Ministry Secretary, told reporters here.

He said Karnataka, however, did not agree. "... they (Karnataka) can go to court," the senior officer said.

On September 5, the Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs up to September 15. But on September 12, in response to Karnataka’s application, the Court modified its September 5 order, and directed Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of water up to September 20. From Wednesday, Karnataka will release 3,000 cusecs in accordance with the Supervisory Committee’s order. 

"The committee took into consideration the interests of all participating states, inflow position, rainfall, daily water inflow into reservoirs of Karnataka, drinking water needs of Karnataka and irrigation needs of Tamil Nadu," he said.

"The order was thus passed after the meeting -- attended by officials of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala -- failed to evolve a consensus," he said.

The committee order came at its seventh meeting, attended among others by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Chief Secretaries Arvind Jadhav, P. Ramamohan Rao and M. Parida respectively. The Kerala government was represented by a senior official. 

The committee, which handles matters related to the river water dispute, received detailed presentations from all stakeholders and tried to thrash out a consensus but Tamil Nadu and Karnataka did not agree to a particular figure on the release of water.

"Two other key decisions were, however, agreed to by all states," Shekhar said, adding that one decision pertained to committee's meeting every month after February next year till September.

Another decision was to ensure transparency in data on water reservoirs and building an online system.

"Often, states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka furnish varying data and hence the Central Water Commission or the central government cannot take concrete decisions based on scientific data," Shekhar said. 

"Therefore, it has been decided that the Central Water Commission will draw a new protocol for the online collection of data related to rainfall and flow of water on real-time basis which may be shared simultaneously with all the states concerned," he added.

The cost of putting into effect the protocol will be shared proportionately by the three states and the union territory of Puducherry. 

The committee had earlier failed to take any decision on September 12 and sought information on water usage and rainfall from the Cauvery basin states by September 15, and deferred its meeting to September 19.

Shekhar said that dispute over water sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu generally arose during shortages. "The dispute happens every year during distress time," he said.

The committee's next meeting on the follow-up of Monday's developments will be held in October.

The Supreme Court will also hear the matter on Tuesday.

Even as the Karnataka government has sought the intervention of the central government, BJP leaders in the state have been saying that the union government should not mediate the dispute between the two states.

In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said that there was a precedent to the intervention of the Prime Minister mediating a dispute in the past.

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