Karnataka hopes for justice from Cauvery expert team

Mysuru: Karnataka is hoping for justice from the expert team, which studied the depleted water levels in the reservoirs across the Cauvery river basin in the state on October 7-8, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Monday.

“I am confident that Karnataka would get justice from the expert team that visited the river basin areas and understood the gravity of the distress situation in the state,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

The Supreme Court on October 4 directed the Union Water Resources Ministry to depute an expert team to assess availability of water in the reservoirs in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and submit a report by October 17.

The three-member technical team, comprising Central Water Commission Chairman G.S. Jha, CWC member S Masood Hussain and Krishna and Godavari basin organisation chief engineer R.K. Gupta, visited the command area in the state’s southern region spanning Hassan, Mysuru and Kodagu districts where its four reservoirs are located.

“I believe the central team will do justice to the state in its report to the Supreme Court as we have appraised it of the acute water shortage in the river basin, crop loss and the drinking water requirement in the region,” said Siddaramaiah, adding he also hoped the apex court would take into consideration the state’s view during the next hearing on October 18.

On the top court’s direction, the state, however, released 6,000 cusecs of water per day from October 4-6 and 2,000 cusecs per day from October 7-18 to Tamil Nadu.

The central team also visited reservoirs in Tamil Nadu, including Mettur and Bhavanisagar in Salem and Erode districts and met farmers in the delta region districts of Thiruchurapalli, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam on October 9-10.

One representative each of the four riparian states also accompanied the team on an aerial survey of the four dams (Hemavathy, KRS, Kabini and Harangi) across the river basin and met the affected people, including farmers.

The 765-km-long Cauvery originates at Talakaveri in Karnataka’s Kodagu district and flows through Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before joining the Bay of Bengal.