Cauvery row: Tamil Nadu intensifies legal battle against Karnataka



Chennai/Haveri: Opening another front in its legal battle with Karnataka on the Cauvery row, Tamil Nadu on Monday decided to move the Supreme Court seeking damages from it for loss of crops caused by the neighbouring state's "adamant approach" in not releasing water.

Upping the ante, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced she has ordered officials to file a suit in the apex court claiming damages to compensate for the loss of Kuruvai (short-term) and Samba (long-term) paddy crops in the state.

In spite of directions by the Supreme Court and Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC), Karnataka had not released water in "appropriate way", following which the crops have been "largely affected", Jayalalithaa said, citing various petitions filed by her government.

Reacting to Tamil Nadu's unusual move, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said at Haveri in Karnataka that the state would reply to the petition.

Karnataka had explained the water scarcity and distress situation at the meetings of the Cauvery River Authority and Cauvery Monitoring Committee, Shettar told reporters.

He said Karnataka was not in a position to accede to Tamil Nadu's plea for water release due to depleted storage in reservoirs while the Cauvery basin areas were already reeling under drinking water scarcity.

"Considering the adamant approach of Karnataka in not releasing due share of water to Tamil Nadu in line with the existing Tribunal verdict, which has been recorded by the CMC, I have directed (officials) to file an original suit claiming damages from Karnataka to compensate the damages suffered by Tamil Nadu" regarding crop-loss, Jayalalithaa said in a statement at Chennai.

Complying with a Supreme Court order in December, Karnataka had released water for some days but stopped it citing depleted storage of water in its reservoirs.

Tamil Nadu has also been piling pressure on the Centre to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal given in February 2007 but Karnataka has opposed it citing pendency of petitions challenging the award in the Supreme Court.

PTI