Cauvery verdict: Supreme Court gives more water to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu calls it a setback

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered Karnataka to release 177.25 TMC of Cauvery water for Tamil Nadu.

Cauvery verdict: Supreme Court gives more water to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu calls it a setback

Bengaluru: In a big relief to Karnataka, the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Friday said that it will get an additional 14.75 tmcft water from the Cauvery river. In an attempt to amicably resolve the decades-old dispute over sharing of the river water, the SC ordered Karnataka to provide 177.2 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu instead of the 192 tmcft water it gave away earlier. 

The apex court verdict implies that Karnataka will now get an additional 14.75 tmcft as compared to the previous 2007 order. ''Karnataka will now release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam,'' the apex court said in its order.

Tamil Nadu will now get 404.25 tmcft of Cauvery water instead of 419 tmcft allotted by 2007 tribunal and the award of 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry will remain unchanged, the top court said.

''No deviance shall be shown by any state,'' the Supreme Court said while delivering the Cauvery verdict.

The top court also made it clear that increase in the share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft has been done keeping in view the fact that there is an increased demand of drinking water by Bengaluru and also for many industrial activities.

The top court further ruled that the 20 TMC of groundwater in Tamil Nadu had not been accounted for and needed to be seen. However, it allowed Tamil Nadu to draw additional 10 tmcft 'groundwater' from total of 20 tmcft beneath Cauvery basin.  

The verdict was delivered by the three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar.

The apex court ruling has been widely welcomed by politicians and activists from Karnataka, however, the leading political parties in Tamil Nadu, including DMK and the AIADMK, have termed it as a ''shocker'' and ''extremely disappointing''.   

In his first reaction to the development, Mohan V Katarki, counsel for the state of Karnataka, said, ''We are very happy with the verdict. It is a balance verdict which protects the interest of both the states. This is a good judgement which will go long way in ensuring peace in both the states.''

''Will react in detail after reading the judgement but prima facie we welcome it,'' Jagadish Shettar, former CM of Karnataka, said while reacting to the ruling.

Meanwhile, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah was also briefed about the top court ruling by his colleagues inside the state Assembly. He too welcomed the ruling.

Reacting to the judgement, A Navaneethakrishnan, lawyer for Taml Nadu, said, ''Originally awarded 192 TMC water to Tamil Nadu has been reduced with SC order. 14.75 TMC extra water has been given to Karnataka to provide drinking water to Bengaluru city. We hope that TN govt will take appropriate steps.''

We believe in the verdict of the court and respect it. Surely, this is not enough. We have raised the shortfall of water with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who have two plans to address the issue, one of which is linking river Godavari with Kallanai, he added.

Celebrations erupted in Karnataka shortly after the favourable Supreme Court ruling in the case and people were seen distributing sweets to each other.  

Security was beefed up in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the Cauvery water dispute case.

According to ANI, elaborate security arrangements were made in Bengaluru and other cities as the authorities feared law and order problems in the wake of an adverse verdict by the top court. Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar had earlier informed that at least 15,000 police personnel were deployed on duty. Karnataka State Reserve Police Force and personnel from other forces were also deployed to avoid any untoward incident across the state.

Meanwhile, bus services between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were affected. Commuters in Hosur claimed that the number of buses plying to Karnataka has been reduced in the wake of the verdict in Cauvery water sharing dispute case.

The states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had challenged the 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing of Cauvery water.  The three states had sought modification of Cauvery Tribunal’s final order. The bench had reserved its order on the matter on September 20, 2017.

The state governments in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Puducherry had filed petitions seeking modification of Cauvery Tribunal's final order. The verdict holds significance since sharing the Cauvery water is an emotive as well existential issue for thousands of families dependent on the river that flows between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The 120-year-old Cauvery water dispute was earlier decided unanimously by CWDT in 2007, after determining the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site, including 14 tmcft for environmental protection.

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