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Cauvery dispute: K'taka emerges as big victor

16 February 2018

The court also said Karnataka will get 14.75 TMC of additional water. Last month, the Supreme Court had indicated that it would deliver its verdict within four weeks, saying enough confusion had been created on it for decades. Almost two years ago, passions ran high after the SC ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka government's lawyer has said that "farmers in both states must be happy" with the verdict.

The Supreme Court is also likely to rule out the distress-sharing formula and increasing the cultivable areas in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. "Bengaluru city, which was facing water shortage, alone will get an additional 4.7 TMC water", says Brijesh Kalappa, Supreme Court advocate.

Karnataka had told the court that 1924 agreement between the then British province of Madras and the princely State of Mysore could not be the basis of sharing Cauvery river water between the present day Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and present day needs must taken into account.

"This is a good judgement which will go long way in ensuring peace in both the states", Mohan V Katarki, counsel for the state of Karnataka said.

The ruling marks the culmination the inter-state dispute that has seen widespread violence and protests over the years as it puts in place a new water allocation system between the southern states.

On the other hand, DMK party has slammed the AIDMK party for not handling the issue properly, and they expressed their grief for Supreme court's verdict not turning in favour of Tamil Nadu. It also demanded setting up of the Cauvery Management Board. However, it allowed Tamil Nadu to draw additional 10 tmcft "groundwater" from total of 20 tmcft beneath Cauvery basin.

After opposition from the Centre, the apex court constituted a nine-member panel headed by G.S. Jha, chairperson of the Central Water Commission (CWC), and comprising members nominated by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala to resolve the water-sharing dispute.

The Cauvery river basin originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before it enters the Bay of Bengal. The Supreme Court rejected Karnataka's contention of these previous agreements of not being valid. The agreement also spelled out restrictions on how much land would be irrigated.

Celebrations erupted in Karnataka shortly after the favourable Supreme Court ruling in the case and people were seen distributing candies to each other. In addition to this, Karnataka had been allocated 270 TMC within the state.

It also maintained that water distribution can not be done on the basis of pre-constitution agreements relied upon by the tribunal which allocated just 270 tmcft to Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu will now get 404.25 tmcft of Cauvery water instead of 419 tmcft allotted by 2007 tribunal and the award of 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry will remain unchanged, the top court said. It opposed the release of water to Tamil Nadu during hard years, building up tensions between both states leading to violent conflicts on either side.

Cauvery dispute: K'taka emerges as big victor