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Cauvery water: Tamil Nadu says centre soft on Karnataka

Posted on Dec 03, 08:36PM | IANS

Since Karnataka is heading for assembly elections in 2013, the central government may not be pushing it hard to release Cauvery water for Tamil Nadu, the Supreme court was told by a counsel Monday.

"Karnataka elections are there. No direction will be given (to Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu)," Tamil Nadu's senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan told the apex court bench of Justice D.K. Jain and Justice Madan B. Lokur.

The court is hearing a batch of petitions and application filed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the release of 9,000 cusecs of water daily from Cauvery for the latter.

The Cauvery River Authority (CRA) headed by the prime minister in an interim award Sep 19 directed Karnataka to release for Tamil Nadu 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water every day.

Vaidyanathan said the union water resources secretary wrote to the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal inquiring about the crop season for which Tamil Nadu was seeking the river water.

"There must be something more than that meets the eyes in passing such an order," said Vaidyanathan.

The Tamil Nadu counsel told the court that in 2002-03 when the state suffered a serious drought it got 39 percent water but this year it has so far got only 22 percent water.

Referring to the suggestion that Cauvery water could be released to Tamil Nadu after Dec 31, the senior counsel wondered if the water would be released only after both the crops and farmers were destroyed.

The court asked senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, as to how much water it could release to Tamil Nadu if it was asked to release 30 tmc of water.

As Nariman was seeking to address the query from the bench, Vaidyanathan intervened saying that they will not release any water.

Justice Jain said that in your (Tamil Nadu) response you have sought at least 30 tmc of water and "we are trying to get you something from big brother".

"Our endeavour is if we could get something for you from Karnataka," the court said.

"We want more graciousness from the big brother positioned on the upper riparian side of the Cauvery river," Justice Jain observed.

Nariman earlier referred to an earlier meeting of the Cauvery Monitoring Authority which said that 110 tmc of water which Karnataka had was sufficient to meet its requirements, including increasing acreage of land that was being cultivated.

Vaidyanathan will continue his argument Tuesday.