Cauvery dispute verdict a victory for poll-bound Karnataka: Top highlights

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Friday reduced Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water and increased Karnataka's, instructing the latter to provide 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC)  water to the former. Pronouncing its verdict on the decades-old Cauvery water dispute between the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, the apex court said given the global status of Karnataka's capital city of Bengaluru, it will get more Cauvery river water. Earlier, in accordance with the 2007 award of the Cauvery water dispute tribunal, Karnataka had a share of 270 tmcft of Cauvery water. This will now increase to 284.75 tmcft.

The judgement was pronounced by a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar. Reading out the operative portion of the verdict, the CJI said the 2007 tribunal award of 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft water to Puducherry will remain unchanged.

The apex court also allowed Tami Nadu to draw an additional 10 tmcft 'groundwater' from a total of 20 tmcft beneath the Cauvery basin. It said the increase in share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft is because of the 10 tmcft groundwater and 4.75 tmcft drinking water requirement for Bengaluru residents.

1. Highlights of SC Cauvery river dispute verdict

* Karnataka to provide 177.25 TMC feet water to Tamil Nadu instead of 192 TMC feet
* No state can claim ownership over a river
* Karnataka to get an additional 14.75 TMC feet

* SC order on Cauvery water allocation will continue for the next 15 years.

2. Highlights of SC Cauvery river dispute verdict:

* Victory for Karnataka

* No change of water allocation for Kerala and Puducherry

* Given the global status of Karnataka's capital city of Bengaluru, it will get more Cauvery river water

3. * Supreme Court said that 20 TMC feet of groundwater in Tamil Nadu had not been accounted for and needed to be seen.

*TV reports quote the Tamil Nadu government as saying it will study the apex court’s judgment.

* Tamil Nadu will now get 404.25 tmc ft of Cauvery water instead of 419 tmc ft allotted by tribunal. However, the court allowed Tami Nadu to draw additional 10 tmc groundwater from a total of 20 tmc ft beneath Cauvery basin.

* Will react in detail after reading the judgement but prima facie we welcome it: Jagadish Shettar, former CM of Karnataka.

4. Earlier on September 20, 2017, the court had reserved its order on the matter. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Puducherry had filed petitions seeking modification of Cauvery Tribunal's final order.

Originally awarded 192 TMC water to Tamil Nadu has been reduced with SC order. 14.75 TMC extra water has been given to Karnataka to provide drinking water to Bengaluru city. We hope that TN govt will take appropriate steps: A Navaneethakrishnan, lawyer for Tamil Nadu.
of the court AND respect it. Surely, this is not enough. We have raised the shortfall of water with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who have two plans to address the issue, one of which is linking river Godavari with Kallanai

5. History of Cauvery water dispute

The dispute dates back to the Madras-Mysore agreements of 1924. It was in 1990 when the Centre created a tribunal to examine the conflict and address the water shortage. The CWDT had unanimously passed an order on how the water should be shared between the states after determining the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin.

6. Security tightened in Bengaluru, Chennai

 A senior police officer said security has been tightened for all Karnataka establishments in Chennai, and Tamil nationalist groups and those who have resorted to violence in the past are being watched from last night.

Tamil Nadu has deployed hundreds of police personnel across Chennai city and towns bordering Karnataka. Top government sources said security has been tightened for all Karnataka establishments in the city.

“The state intelligence is closely watching all Tamil nationalist groups. We are prepared to handle the law and order situation. All Karnataka-origin schools, mutts, banks and Udipi hotels in Chennai are given protection,” an officer said.

7. The Cauvery water dispute history

Owing the geographic peculiarities of the State, Tamil Nadu has been dependent on water from the rivers in Karnataka and Kerala for a long time now. The dispute between Tamil Nadu and these two states also has a long history.

Differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on sharing of water in the Cauvery river, which is one of the main sources of water for irrigation in the agricultural lands of the Cauvery delta, have been in existence from the time of two agreements signed during the period of British government ruling the country.

Two agreements were signed between the then Madras Presidency and the State of Mysore, in 1892 and 1924. Karnataka claimed that the water allocated to it from the river was inadequate and that the agreements favoured the Madras Presidency. Tamil Nadu has time and again claimed that the irrigated land in the State has increased over a period of time and the entire region is dependent on the water from the river for agriculture and survival.

8. Dispute continues for years

Efforts did not put an end to the dispute and people in both the states agitated at the slightest provocation over the river dispute. Even film stars joined the protest and Karnataka's decision to build a dam across the river created another tussle.

9. Tribunal's verdict in February 2007

A tribunal, constituted by the Government of India under the direction of the Supreme Court, came out with its final verdict in February, 2007, under which Tamil Nadu was entitled to get around 419 billion cubic feet of water, Karnataka, 270 billion cubic feet, Kerala, 30 bllion cubic feet and Puducherry was to get seven billion cubic feet of water, according to earlier reports.

However, the dispute continued after both the States filed petition with the tribunal to review the decision.

10. On October 18, 2016, the Supreme Court had asked Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu till further orders.

2017. On January 9, 2017, the Tamil Nadu Government had sought a compensation of Rs 2,480 crore from Karnataka for not releasing water to the state despite getting the Supreme Court directive to do so.

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