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Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan express disappointment and shock over more Cauvery water to Karnataka

The SC on Friday raised the 270 thousand million cubic feet share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share.

Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan express disappointment and shock over more Cauvery water to Karnataka
Pic courtesy: PTI

Chennai: Actor Rajinikanth, who has announced that he will soon take the political plunge, said on Thursday that the Supreme Court verdict reducing the quantum of water to Tamil Nadu from Cauvery river was "very disappointing".

"Since the final verdict by the Supreme Court on the Cauvery water sharing amounts to further affecting the livelihood of the farmers in Tamil Nadu, it is very disappointing," he said in a tweet.

Rajinikanth further said that the Tamil Nadu government should take steps to file a review petition on the matter.

On the other hand,  film star Kamal Haasan, who is set to embark on his political journey, on Friday appealed to both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to maintain amity in the wake of the SC judgement on sharing of Cauvery waters between the two states.

While expressing disappointment over the apex court awarding lower quantum of water to Tamil Nadu as against the demand, he said the consoling factor was that the court had maintained that the rivers are common and do not belong to anybody.

"I am disappointed that Tamil Nadu has got a lower share of water but I think it is also important that we conserve and utilise the water that has been apportioned to the state," Haasan said.

He added that it was necessary for the Cauvery Management Board to effectively monitor water flow to Tamil Nadu. In reply to a question, he said the Cauvery issue involved people in general, as well as politicians, as per PTI

Cauvery water dispute: SC raises Karnataka's share, allows Tamil Nadu to extract groundwater

The SC on Friday raised the 270 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a "higher pedestal".

By virtue of the apex court verdict, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Union Territory Puducherry would be annually entitled to 404.25 tmcft, 284.75 tmcft, 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft of Cauvery water respectively out of a total of 740 tmcft.

Besides this, 10 thousand million cubic feet of water would be used for environment protection and 4 tmcft would be kept for inevitable escapages into the sea.

The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) award of February 5, 2007, which was notified in the gazette on February 19, 2013, had allocated 419 tmcft , 270 tmcft, 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft of water yearly to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry respectively.

The top court concurred with the 2007 findings of the CWDT with regard to the water share of 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra justified the increase in Karnataka's share by taking note of the principle on drinking water and the "global status" acquired by the state capital and the IT city of Bengaluru.

"Drinking water requirement of the overall population of all the states has to be placed on a higher pedestal as we treat it as a hierarchically fundamental principle of equitable distribution," the bench said.

"The tribunal had drastically reduced the share of Karnataka towards domestic and industrial purpose for the reason being that only 1/3rd of the city of Bengaluru falls within the river basin and also on the presumption that 50 percent of the drinking water requirement would be met from groundwater supply. The said view taken by the tribunal ignores the basic principle pertaining to drinking water and is, thus unsustainable. Keeping in mind the global status that the city has attained, an addition of 4.75 tmc is awarded to Karnataka," the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar, said.

Out of the enhanced 14.75 tmcft of water in Karnataka's share, 10 tmcft has been increased on account of availability of groundwater in Tamil Nadu.

The bench granted six weeks time to the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgement, which modified the CWDT award and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.

It said the order on Cauvery water allocation will continue for the next 15 years.

The top court did not agree with the findings of the tribunal that the data on the availability of groundwater in Cauvery basin in Tamil Nadu was based on conjecture and allowed the state to extract 10 tmcft, out of 20 tmcft groundwater.

"The admission of facts along with the confirmatory empirical data suggests that around 20 tmc of groundwater is available beneath the surface in Tamil Nadu which the Tribunal has not taken into account citing it as a conjecture. We, while keeping in mind the risks associated with over-extraction of underground water, deem it fit that 10 tmc of the said available groundwater in Tamil Nadu can, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, be accounted for in the final determination of its share," it said.

Now, Karnataka will have to release 177.25 tmcft of water at the inter-state border with Tamil Nadu at Billigundulu.

The court, which referred to international rules of Helsinki, Compione and Berlin on equitable distribution of river waters passing through various nations, said that river is a national asset and no state can claim "exclusive ownership" of such waters or deprive other states.

(With PTI inputs)