In the latest episode of the Cauvery water dispute Tamil Nadu has objected to Karnataka’s controversial Koramangala-Challaghatta (KC) Valley treated water project. The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday filed a petition with the Supreme Court alleging that the project violates the Supreme Court order. Tamil Nadu claimed that the apex court had ordered Karnataka to discharge all treated water into the river.
“In the guise of utilising sewage water, the scheme provides for pumping surplus water of Varthur tank to a series of tanks in Kolar district for increasing the utilisation and thus preventing the surplus of Varathur tank flowing to Pennaiyar river. It is another devise for increasing the irrigation and other new uses,” the TN government told the apex court.
“It is stated that transferring the sewage of Bangalore city which is generated from Cauvery water supply is in violation of the Judgment dated 16.2.2018 passed by this Hon’ble Court,” the petition added.
The KC Valley Project transports treated (primary and secondary) water from Sewage Treatment Plants in Bellandur and Varthur lakes in Bengaluru to 126 minor irrigation tanks in the perennially arid district of Kolar. The decision was made in a bid to solve the water woes of the district. It was thought the water, which would be fit only for agricultural use would also improve the groundwater table.
The project had turned controversial when activists based in Kolar opposed the move over fears of receiving polluted water. They demanded that the water be treated in a tertiary treatment plant and adhere to the guidelines prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board. Their stand was vindicated when a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Science found that the water being released into the lakes contained higher than permissible amounts of E.coli bacteria, heavy metals and dissolved oxygen.
Since their demands fell on deaf ears, they had moved the Karnataka High Court against the state government and had obtained an interim stay. Recently, the Supreme Court had lifted a stay on the project asking the High Court to decide on the matter comprehensively in a speedy manner.
However, activists in Kolar are not pleased with the stand of the TN government. Anjaneya Reddy, the petitioner in both the HC and Supreme Court and an activist with Shashwatha Neeravari Horata Samiti, said, “There is no merit in the Tamil Nadu government case, as earlier in a case in the SC against Karnataka government of contaminating the Cauvery water flowing into Tamil Nadu from the KC Valley and Hebbal-Nagwara catchments. Then the Karnataka government had replied in court stating that this water will be treated and supplied to the drought-prone districts. To this, the TN government had not objected. This was three years ago. The fresh objection is only for political reasons.”