Its job is to apprise government of technical nuances of different dimensions of Cauvery dispute

Behind the present mood of jubilation among farmers and political leaders in the State over the latest development in the Cauvery dispute lies the silent and yet significant work of a compact team of dedicated officials in safeguarding the interests of the State.

The team, formally known as Cauvery Technical Cell (CTC), has been functioning for most of the last two decades from an old building of the British Raj period in an innocuous corner of the sprawling campus of the Government Museum in Egmore here.

Apart from spotting, collecting and retrieving reports and documents that help strengthen the State’s case, the cell’s important job is to apprise the government and advocates of technical nuances of different dimensions of the dispute. “We had always been on tenterhooks. But, I would say proudly that there was no time that we lagged behind,” says A. Mohanakrishnan, who steered, as Chairperson, the affairs of the CTC for 20 years since the creation of the cell in 1990.

Mr. Mohanakrishnan, who continued to serve the government till December 2012 as Advisor (Water Resources), recalls that the advocates, representing the State, were extremely demanding in asking for relevant information and materials. And, the cell’s officials always saw to it that whatever sought was provided.

Now headed by former Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department R. Subramanian, the cell consists of specialists from different disciplines such as groundwater and agriculture.

The composition of the cell has undergone changes over the years. Yet, two technical experts, M.S. Ramamurthi and S. Kulathu, both septuagenarians have been part of the CTC since inception.

At the time of formation, the cell had two other experts, B. Manickavasagam and A. Loghanathan.

The former advisor acknowledges the services rendered by a host of persons including D. Hariram, former vice-chairman of the CTC, and R. Muralidharan, another technical official.

Over the years, the brief given to the cell saw some changes with the State government asking the CTC to handle other inter-State river water disputes such as Mullaperiyar and Palar.

Even though the cell, considering the nature of its work, has remained out of the public glare, its officials do not fail to be in contact with other players, especially farmers.

S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, is among those to whom the cell has turned for ascertaining the ground reality. It is hardly surprising that given its team of dedicated officials, the cell has come to be seen as a one-stop reference point for various issues concerning the State’s water resources.

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