K’taka promises 38 tmc by Jan

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Will Karnataka be making too generous a commitment before the Supreme Court on Monday by offering to release 38 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu between October and end-January next year?

Even as farmer leaders and Opposition parties are apprehensive over making such commitment, the state government feels the fears are unfounded.

The state has calculated the quantity (38 tmc) based on the ‘distress water year’ of 2003-04, which had a stark similarity to the present scenario in the state, assert senior officials.

“About 35 tmc of water is expected to flow from the intermediate catchment area that begins past the KRS and Kabini reservoirs and stretches till the interstate border at Biligundlu measuing point.

Only the remaining quantity of 3 tmc will be released from the state’s reservoirs. It will not be a burden on the state’s reservoirs,” say highly placed sources in the government.

The water flow along the 225-km-long intermediate catchment area will provide 35 tmc during the cropping season and an additional quantity of 3 tmc is what the state will be effectively drawing out of its reservoirs.

“In fact, the reservoir levels this year are a notch better compared to what the state had recorded in 2003-04,” noted the sources.

The Karnataka government ventured to release 24,000 cusecs on Friday night instead of 9,000 cusec, triggering shock and dismay among the agitating farmers in the Cauvery basin.

After the Supreme Court rap on September 28 for non-compliance of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) order, Karnataka wanted to secure a strong ground before the Supreme Court on Monday, when its review petition for stay or modification of the release order, comes up for hearing, say sources.

“The arrears for the period between the CRA order (September 19) and the SC ruling (September 28) had to be released, if the state is to save itself from any embarrassment before the apex court.

The legal team has filed a compliance report in the review petition, which will be updated on Monday. If the report reflects total compliance in terms of the quantity released till date, we can hope for a good start,” explained the source.

Shettar confident of SC stay on water release

A day ahead of the crucial Supreme Court hearing on the Cauvery river water issue, chief minister Jagadish Shettar was confident on Sunday that the apex court would stay its earlier order asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu.

Before heading to New Delhi from the Hubli airport to discuss the Cauvery issue with Karnataka’s senior counsel Fali S. Nariman, Mr Shettar said the central team that visited the state and TN had been convinced that the state would face extremely difficult situation if any more water is released to TN.

He said the legal expert team from the central government has been briefed about the drought-like condition and drinking water problems in the state.

Mr Shettar said Mr Nariman, with more than three decades of legal experience, is the right counsel to represent the state’s case.

Mr Nariman has taken care of state’s interests for a long time and is completely aware of the vexed Cauvery dispute between Karnataka and TN, Mr Shettar said.

“Officials and legal experts have held several rounds of discussions on the line of argument to be taken up before the apex court. We will brief the court about the protests in the state after water was released to TN,” he said.

He appealed to the farmers in the Cauvery basin areas to maintain peace for two days, till the state government comes out with a clear stand after the Supreme Court pronounces its verdict on Monday.

“Water resources minister Basavaraj Bommai and law minister Suresh Kumar are accompanying me to Delhi. We hope that the judgement will be in our favour,” he said.

Claiming to have worked honestly in resolving the Cauvery issue, Mr Shettar said that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh ordered release of 9,000 cusecs of water without studying the ground realities.

“The state government gave a clear picture of the situation in the state and its helplessness in releasing water to TN. But the Centre favoured TN.

Forty-nine taluks in the Cauvery basin are reeling under severe drought, but the state had to release water to respect the judiciary,” he said.

Water level at Krs dam drops

The water level at KRS dam dropped to 105.52 feet on Sunday, as against its capacity 124.80 feet, due to increased outflow.

As much as 14,213 cusecs of water has been released since Saturday night, with 10,612 cusecs being let out towards Tamil Nadu and 3,601 cusecs to canals for irrigation and drinking water purposes.

However, at 6.30pm on Sunday, the outflow from KRS was reduced to 11,851 cusecs, while the inflow was 7298 cusecs.

The water level at Kabini dam stood 2,268.70 feet on Saturday at 6.30 pm, as against its capacity 2,284 feet. The outflow towards Tamil Nadu was 600 cusecs while the inflow was 900 cusecs.

Water level in the Mettur Reservoir stood at 71.2 feet against the full level of 120 feet.

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