The Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that it would deliver within a month its verdict on the decades- old Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, saying enough confusion has been created on it for over two decades.
A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M.Khanwilkar and D.Y.Chandrachud said that any forum could touch the matter relating to the Cauvery basin only after it gave the verdict in four weeks.
A Bench of the court had reserved its verdict on the appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing of water, after marathon hearing, on September 20, 2017.
The court’s remark came during the hearing of a plea, filed in 2016 by a citizens’ group led by philanthropist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw seeking the court’s intervention for supply of drinking water to the residents of Bengaluru and surrounding districts.
The group, under the banner of Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC), of which Ms. Shaw is the president and former Infosys director and educationist Mohandas Pai the vice president, had told the court that Bengaluru people needed adequate drinking water and their right to life should be protected by the top court.
“That the present application is being filed by the applicant in the aftermath of the violence that took place in the city of Bengaluru, since the applicant is of the belief that there are extraordinary circumstances in the city and its adjoining areas which needs to be addressed through the intervention of this Court,” the BPAC plea said.
‘Water scarcity in Bengaluru’
“There is an acute drinking water problem in the city of Bengaluru and certain other districts of South Karnataka. The annual requirement of Bengaluru city alone is more than 19 TMC of water to be supplied to the citizens by the authorities of the State of Karnataka. The annual drinking water requirements of the Cauvery basin districts, including Bengaluru, is roughly about 26 TMC (approximately),” it said.
The BPAC, in the plea filed through lawyer Aparna Bhat, said:
“The South-West Monsoon for the year 2016-17 has miserably failed over most parts of Karnataka and especially in the catchment areas of the Cauvery River. The lack of rainfall is also evident by the reservoir levels in the major reservoirs of the Cauvery basin in Karnataka, which have a huge shortfall of inflows, and thereby the drastic decrease in the storage capacities of the respective reservoirs.
“The approximate live storage of Karnataka’s reservoirs [Harangi, Hemavathi, K.R.S and Kabini] as on 16.09.2016 is only 28.77 TMC as against the total drinking water requirements of Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other Cauvery basin districts which is 26 TMC [approximately.”
If further releases are made to Tamil Nadu, there will not be enough water available in these reservoirs for supply to the citizens of Bengaluru and other towns, it had said. “This is indeed an alarming situation which requires urgent attention of the relevant authorities, and it is also the need of the hour that the present scenario is brought to the notice of this court.”