Chennai: With Mettur Dam witnessing steady inflows following Karnataka’s release of water from the Cauvery River, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday ordered opening its sluice gates for irrigating samba crops in the delta districts.
“To enable farmers take up samba cultivation, I have directed release of water from Mettur Dam from September 20, 2016,” she said.
The government decision to release water was based on factors like the dam touching 84.76 feet (capacity 120 ft), likelihood of receiving more water from Karnataka reservoirs in view of the Supreme Court order, the Cauvery Supervisory Committee’s expected decision on quantum of water for her state and an anticipated normal north east monsoon, she said.
Tamil Nadu has received 8.92 tmcft of water till September 14 at Biligundulu, the designated entry point, with Karnataka releasing water following Supreme Court order, Jayalalithaa said in a statement.
She recalled that the 2007 final award of the Cauvery disputes tribunal was published in a Central gazette in 2013 after a Supreme Court order, and blamed the Centre for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.
Since the centre has not constituted these, “We are in a situation of approaching the Supreme Court to receive our share of water from Cauvery,” she said.
The state government had earlier moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to Karnataka to release 50 tmcft of water from Cauvery.
The court had initially directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days, but later modified it’s order, and asked the upper riparian state to release 12,000 cusecs of water till September 20.
Jayalalithaa said that the court’s direction was sought after her government’s communication to Karnataka seeking release of its share of water from Cauvery and to Centre urging its intervention did not yield any results.
As the state did not get its share of water, she had last month announced a Rs. 64.30 crore package to help Delta farmers raise Samba (a form of paddy) crop, Jayalalithaa recalled.