New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed Karnataka to release 2 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and asked the Central Water Commission to file report on the water requirement of the two warring states.
A bench headed by Justice R. M. Lodha asked the Commission to form a three-member expert body which will visit the states and directed it to file a report within two days. “Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu is permitted two TMC water from storage to save standing crops. Irrespective of the report of the expert committee, Karnataka shall compensate Tamil Nadu by releasing two 2 TMC water,” the bench said.
It posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday. The court was hearing Tamil Nadu’s petition seeking immediate release of 12 TMC of water. Tamil Nadu claims that failure by its neighbour state to release water has resulted in damage to its standing crops. Last month, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee had said that since current storage level in Karnataka was sufficient only to meet the state’s drinking water requirements, it was not in a position to release water to Tamil Nadu.
The Cauvery River originates in Karnataka and meanders its way over almost 800 km in Tamil Nadu. The topography of the region means that Karnataka can control how much water is released downstream to Tamil Nadu.
Earlier on 5 December, the Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to its neighbouring state and asked the CMC to hold a meeting to decide the amount of water required by each state. Cusec is a measure of flow rate of water and is abbreviation for cubic feet per second (which is equivalent to a flow of 28.317 litres per second) and 11,000 cusecs flow for a day amounts to 1 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water.
The committee had then directed Karnataka to provide Tamil Nadu with 12 TMC of Cauvery water during December and did not pass any order for the month of January as the Centre had assured the apex court that it would notify the tribunal’s award by 31 December.