Delhi: Supreme Court on Monday directed Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water daily from tomorrow till September 27 (next date of hearing) to Tamil Nadu.
SC has also directed Centre to constitute Cauvery Water Management Board in four weeks
On the other hand, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit allowed Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to file objections to Cauvery supervisory committee report in three days.
"How long will the two states keep fighting? This dispute is there from 1894. Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) is an expert body and it needs to be constituted. Just because the problem had not arisen earlier doesn't mean that the problem will never arise in future," the bench told ASG Pinky Anand, appearing for Centre.
What happened in the court
Fali Nariman appearing for Karnataka government opposed the supervisory committee order and informed the Supreme Court that they will have to sacrifice their drinking water for irrigation purposes in Tamil Nadu.
Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, also opposed the directions, saying the supervisory committee has not considered all aspects while passing the order.
He said the committee had failed to consider the fact that it was a rain deficient year and the quantum of water to be released has to be done proportionally.
The apex court had on September 5 ordered 15,000 cusecs daily for ten days.
Later, it modified its order, asking Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs till today (September 20).
During the nearly two-hour hearing, both states strongly argued their case, with Karnataka saying it will be difficult to release water to Tamil Nadu for irrigation purposes by cutting drinking water supply to Bengaluru.
On its part, Tamil Nadu said it was fallacy on part of Karnataka that it does not want to accept that it was not a normal year and there was 46 percent deficient rainfall.
Nariman urged the bench to either refer back the matter to the Supervisory Committee for proper consideration of all facts or let Tamil Nadu file a petition raising objection to the committee's decision, which was a 'pro tem' (temporary) arrangment till the CWMB was constituted.
He said as per the CWDT award, Karnataka was asked to release 192 TMC of Cauvery water every year but the monthly release of water was tentative depending on various factors.
The senior lawyer further said if Karnataka was asked to supply more water to Tamil Nadu, it will have serious consequences.
Naphade contended that Tamil Nadu needed water before October 15 or the Samba crop in the state will be affected and said "there can't be a camel-like approach that you consume water now and use it later".
"The Supervisory Committee doesn't know its job. We are aggrieved by the order of the committee. There has to be seasonal allocation," he said.
To this, the bench said "you (Karnataka) are aggrieved by Supervisory Committee's order which has suggested some figure and they (Tamil Nadu) are aggrieved. We are also aggrieved. Centre has not constituted the board which should have been constituted and a regulatory committee should have been constituted under the board for effective implementation of tribunal's award".
Cauvery Supervisory Committee's order
Yesterday, the Cauvery Supervisory Committee in Delhi had ordered Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs water per day to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and September 30.
The Karnataka government had yesterday termed the committee's order as 'disappointing' and a 'blow'.
"The decision of the committee is disappointing to us. The Supervisory committee's decision is another blow to the state," Home Minister G Parameshwara had told reporters.
Soon after the development, sporadic protests were reported from different places, especially in Mandya district, the epicentre of the Cauvery agitation, where protesters blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway.
SC's fresh order unimplementable: Karnataka CM
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed apex court's fresh order on release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as 'unimplementable' and called an all party and Cabinet meeting tomorrow to decide the next step, even as prohibitory orders were enforced across Bengaluru.
As he faced a fresh challenge on the raging Cauvery row at a time when the protests were abating, Siddaramaiah said SC passed an order, "since we do not have water, it is very difficult to implement it. It is an unimplementable order."
Keeping in mind the last week's widespread violence over the Cauvery issue in Bengaluru, Siddarmaiah said, "I appeal to the people, especially to people from Cauvery basin to maintain peace, they should not get carried away by emotions".
"Government is committed to protect the interest of the state, its people and its farmers. Every one should cooperate," he added.
Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place across the state, especially in the Cauvery basin area to ensure there is no repeat of the September 12 like situation, in which violence erupted in the city following reports of of attack on Kannadigas and their properties in Tamil Nadu.
"We have made all the necessary arrangements to maintain law and order. I humbly request people to maintain peace," Home Minister G Parameshwara said.
TN parties welcome apex court order
Meanwhile, political parties in Tamil Nadu welcomed SC's order directing the central government to set up CMB in four weeks time.
President of Tamil Nadu All Farmers' Federations, PR Pandian said, "I welcome the verdict whole heartedly, all the farmers are very happy."
"We thank Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the legal measures she undertook to secure the apex court verdict," he told PTI,adding the ruling also comes after a slew of protests over several years by Tamil Nadu farmers, supported by all sections of people, political parties and traders.
He said farmers are now confident that the Cauvery Board would order release of water to ryots in accordance with the needs and without any political interference.
Farmers wing of CPI(M), Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam urged the Centre to implement the order without delay and the state government to make efforts to get additional quantum of water as 6,000 cusecs will not be sufficient.
Reacting to the development, PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss termed it as 'historic', saying his party has been demanding the setting up of ACMB for the past nine years.
In a statement here, Ramadoss said the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) had given its final award on February 5, 2007, but the central government under Congress and the BJP were reluctant to set up the CMB owing to political reasons as both the parties have higher political states in Karnataka, as per IANS.
Welcoming the apex court's order, MDMK leader Vaiko said the central government should set up the CMB and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Authority (CWRA).
(With Agency inputs)