New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the chairman of the Central Water Commission to constitute a three-member expert committee to visit the Cauvery Delta Basin to make an assessment of standing crops in Tamil Nadu.
The apex court bench headed by Justice RM Lodha said the committee would submit its report to the court by Wednesday and the same would be taken up for consideration and hearing next day.
In the meantime, the court said, irrespective of the expert committee report, Tamil Nadu will release two TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from Mettur reservoir which in turn will be replenished by Karnataka from its Cauvery water.
Having directed the setting up of the expert committee, the court hauled up the centre for shutting its eyes to the mandate of law by not publishing in the official gazette the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal Award, finalised way back in 2007.
The court directed the centre to publish the award in the gazette as early as possible, but in no case later than February 20, 2013.
The court brushed aside the centre`s plea that it does not want to take any unilateral decision and wanted to evolve a consensus between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before publishing the award.
Tamil Nadu has sought nine TMC of water for its standing crops spread over six lakh hectares of land. It said that one-third of the crops spread over nine lakh hectares of land had perished due to drought, and the remaining crop over six lakh hectares of land needs to be irrigated twice to save it.
However, Karnataka contended that 40 percent of standing crops had already been harvested, and the remaining sixty percent was about to be harvested. Thus, Tamil Nadu needs no water for irrigating standing crops.