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CRA meet to be convened after monitoring N.E. monsoon

By Gargi Parsai

New Delhi Oct. 18. The Centre is likely to watch the progress of the North-East monsoon before deciding on a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), it is reliably learnt.

Against the backdrop of an earlier letter written by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, to the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the DMK leader, M. Karunanidhi, taking up the issue with Mr. Vajpayee during his visit to Chennai last month, there is a lot of speculation on whether the PM would convene a meeting of the CRA and when.

The CRA, if convened, is to discuss the pro-rata distress sharing formula finalised in the official-level Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) meeting on September 1. In that meeting, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry had accepted the distress sharing formula put forward by the Centre. Karnataka, the upper riparian State, however, had not accepted the formula finalised after a sub-committee of technical experts had incorporated the views of all the riparian States to make it "comprehensive and rational''.

Karnataka had suggested three formulae and proposed that water releases should be considered after taking into account all three and taking into consideration the minimum quantum.

At the time of the meeting, Tamil Nadu had claimed a shortfall of about 32 tmcft (as per the distress sharing formula) in the Cauvery water releases from Karnataka at Mettur.

The shortfall remains more or less the same to date as Tamil Nadu goes in for sowing of sambha crop.

Karnataka had stated that as it was facing a third consecutive drought this year, the State was in no position to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

However, most observers feel that the best way to work out an amicable solution for pro rata sharing of distress would be for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to decide the issue bilaterally.

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