MK Stalin, Kuruvai crop
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin said the short-term Kuruvai is a crucial crop for the farmers of Tamil Nadu’s Cauvery delta region I File photo: PTI

TN to Centre: Persuade Karnataka to release Cauvery water to save Kuruvai crop

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The Tamil Nadu state government informed the Centre on Thursday (July 20) that Karnataka has not released their due share of Cauvery water.

Tamil Nadu stressed that the standing Kuruvai crop can only be saved if Karnataka immediately releases the water and sought the Centre’s immediate intervention on this matter.

Writing to Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Chief Minister M K Stalin said the short-term Kuruvai is a crucial crop for the farmers of Tamil Nadu’s Cauvery delta region.

He said the quantum of water received at Billigundulu on the inter-state border, from June 1 to July 17 was 3.78 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) only, as against the prescribed level of 26.32 tmc for this period.

Also Read: Release Cauvery water as per availability, board tells Karnataka

This leaves a huge shortfall of 22.54 tmc and even this meager flow of 3.78 tmc realised at Billigundulu was from the uncontrolled intermediate catchment areas below the KRS and Kabini reservoirs up to Billigundulu.

To facilitate the cultivation of Kuruvai crop on time, the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu was opened this year on June 12. This was done considering the carryover storage and the flows to be realised at Billigundulu, as per the monthly schedule fixed based on the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 16 February 2018, he said.

Though the onset of South West monsoon was delayed, it has picked up pace in July. However, Karnataka has not released water to Tamil Nadu from the two scheduled reservoirs. As a result, the storage in Mettur reservoir, in Salem district, was dwindling fast and the current storage can sustain irrigation only for about 20 days, Stalin informed.

“In this critical scenario, the standing Kuruvai crop can be saved only if Karnataka releases water immediately. I, therefore, urge your personal and immediate intervention on this issue and request you to direct the CWMA (Cauvery Water Management Authority) to issue directions to Karnataka to abide by the monthly schedule prescribed by the Supreme Court and also make good the shortfall,” he added.

Also Read: No Cauvery water release from Mettur on June 12

The CM’s letter dated July 19 was handed over in person by Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan to the Union Minister in Delhi on Thursday.

An official release said the Union Minister assured Duraimurugan the CWMA would be advised to implement the necessary mechanism — which includes aspects like water sharing during distress/shortfall periods — for release of water by Karnataka.

In his letter, Stalin said that since south west monsoon rainfall in Tamil Nadu is less, the Kuruvai crop depends only on flows from Mettur reservoir, which in turn depends on release from Karnataka.

Although 12,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water was released from Mettur initially, as needed per day for the Kuruvai crop, it has been brought down to 10,000 cusecs now.

“Thus, we have been taking all efforts to manage the crisis with judicious water management. But the demand supply gap is very significant and it can be met only by releases from Karnataka,” he said.

Also Read: Daily wrap: Cauvery water for Tamil Nadu; 3 Bengal MLAs join BJP

Stalin recalled Duraimurugan’s meeting with Shekhawat on July 5 on the issue, and the state taking up the matter with the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee in its meetings and the TN government also writing to the CWMA on July 3.

The authority, in its letter dated July, 4, 2023 advised Karnataka to ensure the flows at Billigundulu as per the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court.

Even after the authority’s intervention, Karnataka has not made any effort to adhere to the monthly schedule prescribed by the apex court, the chief minister said.

(With agency inputs)

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