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Rabi crop will die without water, Tamil Nadu tells SC

Posted on Dec 04, 10:07PM | IANS

Tamil Nadu Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the rabi crop in the state would die if Cauvery river water was not released by Karnataka, which, in turn, dubbed the neighbour's plea for water as "not maintainable".

As Tamil Nadu sought to assail Karnataka's stand on not releasing the Cauvery water to the lower riparian state, Karnataka told the apex court bench of Justice D.K. Jain and Justice Madan B. Lokur that the application of Tamil Nadu seeking court's directions for release of water was not maintainable as it was not strictly legal concerning inter-State disputes.

Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, told the court that "entire agriculture season is from June to January. They had two crops (kharif and rabi). I did not have even one".

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

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

Vaidayanathan told the court that Karnataka was permitted to plough eight lakh acres of land but it increased it to 11.5 lakh acres and now it needed more water for additional land cultivation, thus, it was denying Tamil Nadu its share in the river water.

Describing Karnataka's action as "extra-ordinary", Vaidyanathan told the court that "instead of reducing the area under cultivation as per the interim award, they have increased it by 50 percent. This is shocking that I am not getting a single crop. My crop is withering away."

Justice Jain asked if Karnataka had given any reason why they had increased area under cultivation. "Have they given any reason why they have taken it to 11.5 lakh acres?"

"They (Karnataka) have not suffered loss of even one drop of water on account of distress due to failed rainy season. The entire distress is suffered by me," Vaidyanathan said.

Senior Counsel Anil Divan, appearing for Karnataka, told the court that Tamil Nadu's application was not maintainable as it concerned an inter-state dispute.

"These are inter-state disputes and no farmer or citizen can come and challenge it," Divan said.

Tamil Nadu could not just file interlocutory applications in a suit filed in 2002 and then file supplementary affidavit.

Justice Jain said that "You are taking technical objection and highly technical objection."

The court said that if statutory authority could pass an interim award then why court couldn't hear a challenge to it.

Divan will continue arguments Wednesday.