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Cauvery Water verdict: Applause in Karnataka, disapproval in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu opposition parties voiced concern over the Supreme Court verdict reducing the amount of water to the state from Cauvery river.

Updated: Feb 16, 2018, 11.15 PM IST
The Court raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin.
BENGALURU/CHENNAI: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah may be the biggest beneficiary after the Supreme Court verdict on the Cauvery water dispute marginally increased the quantum for the state, even as politicians in Tamil Nadu rued the lack of ‘strong leadership’ like that of J Jayalalithaa.

“This is the first time an upper riparian state has won. We are 70 percent happy,” farmer leader KS Puttanaiah said. With the state set to go for polls in two months, an adverse decision would have been detrimental for the ruling Congress.

For the record, Siddaramaiah said “it is no one’s victory and no one’s loss.” Karnataka’s leader of opposition Jagadish Shettar said all parties had fought together to get the favourable judgement. “Congress will try to claim credit, but it is our lawyers who got us this victory,” he contended.

In Tamil Nadu, government spokesperson D Jayakumar told ET: “While it is a disappointment that the water release has been cut, such blame games are too easy to play.” DMK working president MK Stalin complained the "efforts of the DMK government" in getting final award of the tribunal in 2007 went waste and urged the state government to immediately convene an all-party meeting with farmer associations to discuss methods to mitigate impact.

Former vice-chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agriculture University Chinnachamy Ramaswamy estimated loss at nearly 50% of the current area under cultivation at 2 lakh acres in the Delta region. SKG Giridharan, a cane farmer from Nagapattinam, one of the eight districts of the Cauvery Delta Region said: “In 2016 December, the Supreme Court’s Cauvery supervisory committee surveyed both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka’s delta region. Had the committee known the extent of adversity in Tamil Nadu, it could have changed the course of this judgment,” said.

The reference to groundwater availability — Karnataka has got extra water because of this — has incensed farmers: “It is not feasible to draw groundwater anymore. The water which has been denied to us could have irrigated our crops for 30-40 days,” said KV Ponnaiyan, a farmers’ representative in Erode.

“Though one cannot doubt the erudition of lawyers who represented Tamil Nadu, the fact was that Karnataka was represented by legal giant Fali Nariman. Tamil Nadu too should have engaged a jurist of equal eminence,” former Solicitor General of India Mohan Parasaran told ET.

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