Monday, Sep 08, 2003
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By T. Ramakrishnan
Notwithstanding its views on the efficacy of the CRA resolving the conflict, Tamil Nadu, in the given circumstances, has to push its case for the formula only through the authority, say experts. They cite last year's experience of how the Supreme Court allowed the CRA to modify its order of the quantum of water to be supplied to Tamil Nadu. ``When that is the case, we have to bank upon the CRA for resolving the distress-sharing formula issue'', says an expert. Already, some political parties including the PMK have demanded that the CRA be convened immediately.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the CRA comprises Chief Ministers of four States of the Cauvery Basin Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry besides the Union Water Resources Minister. Formed in 1998 essentially to ensure the implementation of the 1991 interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, the CRA is aided by a Monitoring Committee, which includes Chief Secretaries and senior engineers/officials of the Basin States.
At the Monitoring Committee's meeting on September 1, Karnataka did not agree to the draft formula, worked out after a three-month-long deliberation, though others expressed their consent.
Predictably, Tamil Nadu feels disappointed over the continuing impasse and its officials say one more southwest monsoon has almost gone without the formula being put in place. This is because Tamil Nadu is to get 137tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) from June to September (southwest monsoon) out of its annual share of 205 tmcft, prescribed by the tribunal in the interim order.
Not just that. The draft formula discussed by the Monitoring Committee last week was framed after accommodating Karnataka's viewpoint. Accordingly, the long-term flows of Cauvery water and rainfall downstream of Karnataka's reservoirs were taken into account while preparing the formula. ``After all these, is it fair on their part to reject it?'', asks a Government official.
Going by the receipt of Cauvery water from June 1 (the commencement of the current irrigation year) to September 5, the State recorded a little less than 20 tmcft against its share of 112.5 tmcft, with a deficit of around 90 tmcft. Conscious of poor rainfall in Cauvery catchment areas in Karnataka this year too, Tamil Nadu Government officials did not insist, at the Monitoring Committee's meeting that the neighbouring State release water as per the interim order. Instead, they asked, the release of proportionate share. This was why Tamil Nadu demanded 32 tmcft more at the meeting.
The official explained that Karnataka's reservoirs in the Cauvery Basin received 97 tmcft from June to August, whereas normally, the realisation in the corresponding period was 212 tmcft. ``Since their realisation is about 45 per cent of their normal receipt, we are demanding that they release 45 per cent of our share, as stipulated in the Tribunal's interim order."
Meanwhile, the water level in the Mettur reservoir on Sunday morning stood at 57.87 ft (full level: 120 feet) and the storage was 23.125 tmcft (capacity: 93.4 tmcft). Inflow was 5,248 cusecs (cubic feet per second) and the discharge 700 cusecs.
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