‘Not until civil appeals are disposed of in Supreme Court’

Expressing concern over the notification of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar sought to prevail upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that it would not be appropriate to constitute the Cauvery Management Board until the Supreme Court gives its ruling on the matter.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, copies of which were shared with the media, Mr. Shettar said Karnataka, in its civil appeals before the Supreme Court, had challenged the constitution of a management board as proposed by the tribunal.

“The proposed board will protect the interests of the lower riparian State, and Tamil Nadu will virtually take control over the Karnataka reservoirs which have been built by the State’s resources. This would be a draconian measure which is against the spirit of the federal system. Unless the civil appeals are finally decided by the Supreme Court, it is not appropriate to constitute a management board,” he stated

The “most important development” he sought to bring to the Prime Minister’s notice was that the “tribunal has over-estimated the crop water requirement of Tamil Nadu based on its self- serving affidavits overlooking the objections of Karnataka”.

“The latest assessment made by the team of the Central Water Commission (CWC), under the direction of the Supreme Court, has exposed the false claims of Tamil Nadu. Therefore, the very basis of allocation of water to Tamil Nadu has to be revisited,” he said in the letter.

Mr. Shettar also expressed concern over monthly accounting of the quota on proportionate sharing formula under distress situation without assessing the ground realities. “The Cauvery River Authority is yet to finalise the distress-sharing formula. Pending this, issuing final notification is going to have a great bearing on the Cauvery water dispute,” he said.

He said the dispute assumes a larger dimension only in the distress years. The focus has to be on addressing the situation during the distress years. Unless this is addressed, the dispute would defy a permanent solution expected in the final order of the tribunal.

Drinking water

Mr. Shettar also included the fact that the tribunal’s order had taken into consideration only partial drinking water needs of Bangalore city, leaving out almost two thirds of the fast-growing metro’s drinking water requirements.

“Bangalore city will face a perpetual water shortage,” he said, before adding that Karnataka had shared 5 tmcft of water from the Krishna basin for Chennai city. Similarly, he said the assessment of drinking water requirements of other cities in Karnataka like Mysore, Mandya, Hassan and Tumkur had not been adequately considered.

A hasty move

Hubli Staff Correspondent writes:

Mr. Shettar who was in town to attend a private function here, told presspersonsthat he was opposed to the proposal of creation of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB), and that Cabinet approval was necessary for it and it needed to be discussed in Parliament. The Centre has shown haste in notifiying the final award in the gazette and moving towards creating the CMB, Mr. Shettar said.

The final CWDT order comes into operation on the date of publication of the tribunal’s decision in the official gazette under Section 6 A of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act 1956.

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