Karnataka will have to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu from Wednesday till September 27, the Supreme Court said today while raising the quantum fixed by the Supervisory Committee by 3000 cusecs.
The apex court also directed the Centre to constitute a Cauvery Management Board within four weeks. The SC order comes just a day after the Cauvery Supervisory Committee, headed by Ministry of Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar had ordered Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from 21 September to 30 September.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Karnataka government had decided to challenge the Cauvery Supervisory Committee's order in the SC. Despite the day-long discussions on Monday, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had failed to reach an agreement on the quantum of water to be released.
"They have not agreed. The two states are free to challenge this order in the Supreme Court when it takes up the matter tomorrow or they can agree with the order before the court," a news agency had quoted Shekhar as saying.
The supervisory committee, in its previous meeting on 12 September, had failed to arrive at any decision for want of adequate information which was to be made available by the river basin states. It had asked them to provide the information by 15 September.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had submitted to the committee data about withdrawal of water, its utilisation, variation in rainfall and its impact on the actual run-off over a period of 29 years in their respective Cauvery basin areas, according to a source.
Besides Shekhar, chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry and Central Water Commission chairman are members of the committee, formed to implement final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
The Supreme Court had on 5 September had asked Tamil Nadu to approach the committee over the issue. On that day, the apex court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for a period of 10 days to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate the plight of farmers.
Meanwhile, Karnataka, which is the upper riparian state, had approached the Supreme Court on 11 September seeking modification of its order. A day later, the court modified the order, reducing the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states to 12,000 cusecs per day until 20 September, when the SC will hear the matter again. Last week, the SC order had led to large-scale protests in Bengaluru.