Suit against Karnataka for polluting rivers

The Tamil Nadu government recently moved the Supreme Court, accusing the State of Karnataka for dumping untreated sewage and industrial effluents in the Cauvery and Pennaiyar rivers, considered life-giving water sources for Tamil Nadu.


  • The Tamil Nadu government, in a suit for permanent and mandatory injunction, blamed Karnataka for “gross dereliction of duty as a welfare State under the Constitution” by denying the people of Tamil Nadu the right to access clean water. It has also contended that Karnataka government’s inaction has become a threat to lives and crops in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu has sought the right to claim damages from Karnataka for discharging polluted water into Tamil Nadu.
  • The Kerala State government has made the Union also a party in the suit, saying it failed in its legal and constitutional duty to ensure that Karnataka complied with its social obligation and responsibility to comply with the prescribed standards before letting effluents into rivers.
  • The suit also quotes Karnataka’s Minor Irrigation Minister as saying that around 889 million litres of sewage water enters Tamil Nadu through the Pinakini and South Pennar river courses and the remaining sewage water flows to Cauvery through the Arkavathi River on a daily basis into Tamil Nadu.

Cauvery River:

Cauvery is a sacred river of southern India, rising on Brahmagiri Hill in the Western Ghats in Coorg district of Karnataka state.

  • It flows in a south-easterly direction for 765 km through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states across the Deccan Plateau, and descending the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, it breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta.
  • It is also known as “Daksina Ganga” (But, River Godavari is widely considered as Dakshin Ganga)
  • The Kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 square kms with many tributaries including the Shimsha, the Hemavati, the Arkavati, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani, the Noyyal and the Amaravati River.
  • The river’s basin covers four states and Union Territories: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
  • After the river leaves the Kodagu hills and flows onto the Deccan plateau, it forms two islands, Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra in Karnataka. At Shivanasamudra the river drops 98 metres (320 ft), forming the famous Shivanasamudra Falls known separately as Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki. Asia’s first hydroelectric plant (built in 1902) was on the left falls and supplied power to the city of Bangalore.
  • Tamil Sangam literature (300BCE to 500CE) mentions the kaveri and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


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