SC Asks CMC to Decide on Cauvery Water Distribution
New Delhi | Jan 04, 2013
The Supreme Court today directed the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) to hold a meeting within a week to decide the amount of Cauvery water required by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka which are fighting a legal battle over it.

A bench of justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur asked the committee to meet as expeditiously as possible to decide the amount of water to be released to Tamil Nadu by Karnataka in view of delay on the part of Centre to notify the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.

"We are of the view that CMC to hold meeting as expeditiously as possible but before January 11 to pass appropriate order regarding the requirement of water for standing crops in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka," the bench said.

"We also request CMC to also decide the question of shortfall, if any, in release of water by Karnataka," the bench said.

The court also pulled up the Centre for not notifying the tribunal's award which it had assured to do by December 31 and had even asked the government to place before it all the relevant files regarding it.

It, however, refrained from passing such order after the Centre assured the apex court that it would take a decision on issuing notification by the end of this month. The state governments also said that they do not have any objection over the award being notified.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing to February 4.

Earlier on December 5, the Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to its neighbouring state and asked the CMC to hold a meeting to decide the amount of water required by each state.

Cusec is a measure of flow rate of water and is abbreviation for cubic feet per second (which is equivalent to a flow of 28.317 litres per second) and 11,000 cusecs flow for a day amounts to 1 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water.

The committee had then directed Karnataka to provide Tamil Nadu with 12 TMC of Cauvery water during December and did not pass any order for the month of January as the Centre had assured the apex court that it would notify the tribunal's award by December 31.

During the earlier hearing on November 26, the court had asked the chief ministers of the two states to meet and arrive at an amicable solution to the "sensitive" dispute.

The talks between the chief ministers, however, failed to break the deadlock on the water sharing row and the matter again reached the apex court.

Once a gazette notification is issued, the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) chaired by the prime minister and the CMC will cease to exist.

The tribunal, comprising chairman Justice N P Singh and members N S Rao and Sudhir Narain, in a unanimous award in February 2007 had determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 TMC feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site.

The proceedings of the tribunal, set up in June 1990, went on for more than 16 years.

In what was then described as a balancing act, the tribunal gave Tamil Nadu 419 tmc of water (as against the demand of 562 tmc); Karnataka 270 tmc (as against its demand of 465 tmc); Kerala 30 tmc and Puducherry 7 tmc. For environmental protection, it had reserved 10 tmc.

The Tribunal's award will come into effect within 90 days of its notification by the Centre. As per law, the award comes into being after being notified by the Centre through its publication in a gazette.