Karnataka terms TN's plea on Cauvery water dispute 'wholly misconceived'
Government tells top court that rainfall has been 25% less and water inflow into Karnataka’s four reservoirs has been 42.5% lesser
The Karnataka government has described as "wholly misconceived" Tamil Nadu's plea seeking a direction from the Supreme Court that it be asked to release 24,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily for standing crops.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government said Tamil Nadu's plea was based on an incorrect assumption that "the current water year is a normal water year and not a distressed water year".
Rainfall has been 25 per cent lower and the water inflow into Karnataka's four reservoirs 42.5 per cent lesser, the affidavit said, adding that the stipulated release shall not be applicable this year.
The southwest monsoon too has largely failed so far during the current water year, leading to a "distress condition" in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka, the government said in the affidavit.
"Karnataka, therefore, is not obliged to and it cannot be compelled to ensure water as per the stipulated relief is prescribed for the normal year," the affidavit stated.
The top court is scheduled to hear Tamil Nadu's plea on Friday (August 25).
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud had earlier said that a fresh bench will be set up to hear the decades-old dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing of the Cauvery's water.
Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi had said an application was filed by the state seeking the release of water for August that has been ordered by the Cauvery Water Management Authority.
Rohatgi had told the apex court that a bench would have to be constituted to hear the matter.
On August 11, Tamil Nadu said it had no other option but to approach the apex court to get its genuine share of the Cauvery's water.
It had contended that in a change of stand, Karnataka was prepared to release only a reduced quantum of 8,000 cusecs (cubic foot per second) every day.
Referring to the deliberations of the Cauvery Water Management Authority in Delhi in August, Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan had said the requirement for the Cauvery's water was emphatically put forth by state officials.
"However, Karnataka as usual changed its stand and categorically said that it could only release 8,000 cusecs and that too only till August 22," he had said.
The minister had said it was unanimously decided at a meeting of the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee on August 10 that 15,000 cusecs per day would be released by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu for 15 days.
"Hence, the Tamil Nadu government has no other option but to approach the Supreme Court. Soon, a case will be filed in the apex court. Justice will win and we will get water and Chief Minister MK Stalin-led government is determined to get water," he had said.
The combined storage capacity of the four dams in Karnataka is 114.571 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) and it has 93.535 tmc ft storage, which is about 82 per cent, the minister had said.
Duraimurugan had alleged that Karnataka does not "have a heart" to share water with Tamil Nadu though it had enough water.
(With inputs from agencies)