Cauvery water dispute: final notification today; Karnataka braces for protests

Cauvery water dispute: final notification today; Karnataka braces for protests
Bangalore:  The final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal is expected to be notified on Wednesday. The hope is that this will settle once and for all the ongoing tussle between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing the water of the river Cauvery.

Farmers and Kannada organizations have planned protests ahead of the notification. The government has stepped up security in the Cauvery basin delta areas and prohibitory orders are put in place around the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir near Mysore.

Karnataka is strongly opposed to the Central government notifying the award given five years ago by the tribunal. The state has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the award contending that every year it needs 465 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) of water while the tribunal has given only 270 tmc ft. The tribunal has awarded Tamil Nadu 419 tmc ft as against its demand for 562 tmc ft.

Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, meanwhile, hopes that there will be a delay in that notification. "First, dispose the Special Leave Petition which is already pending before the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Tamil Nadu has enjoyed more political clout all these years. Karnataka's situation is very bad," he tells NDTV.

Karnataka's Cauvery basin has four main dams. When NDTV visited the Hemavathy reservoir in Hassan district, we found that the water level is extremely low and the crops drying.

"You can yourself see. Let the Tamil Nadu leaders, the engineers, Delhi politicians, the people who are at the helm of affairs taking the decision for a final award, let them see this," said Mr Deve Gowda.

The Kabini dam, the other major reservoir, also has acute water shortage. There is no live storage - or water considered available - left in the dam. "Even for drinking water we have to release the dead storage. No technical officer or engineer is advised to release dead water," said Mr Deve Gowda.

The situation is equally bad in the other two dams - the Harangi reservoir in Kodagu district and Krishnarajasagara or KRS dam in Mandya district.

"Our humble request is not to publish the final award. Because we are not allowed to discuss in Parliament, all our colleague MPs think our Karnataka people are disobeying the order of the Tribunal, disobeying the order of the Supreme Court," says Mr Deve Gowda.

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