Seeking review of CWDT award is wrong: Ranganathan

Taken aback by Karnataka’s stand that it is not in a position to release 134 tmcft of water in June-September due to “meagre storage in its reservoirs,” Cauvery delta farmers have categorically said that there could not be any alteration in the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).

The Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, told an all-party meeting in Bangalore on Thursday that the State would appeal to the Cauvery Supervisory Committee (CSC) to re-examine the share of water to be released to Tamil Nadu.

He wanted a review now as the CWDT award of 2007, in his view, stipulated that the inter-State water-sharing formula could be reviewed once in five years. Karnataka would seek a reduction of the share of Tamil Nadu to 97.82 tmcft (from 134 tmcft) due the “distress situation.”

Describing the position of the Karnataka government on review of the water-sharing formula as fundamentally wrong, the general secretary of Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, S. Ranganathan, pointed out that the final award came into effect only on February 19, 2013, after its notification in the Gazette.

The CWDT had clearly stated that the “Authority [Cauvery Management Board] shall properly monitor the working of monthly schedule with the help of the States concerned and Central Water Commission for a period of five years and if any modification/adjustment is needed in the schedule thereafter, it may be worked out …..for future adoption without changing the annual allocation among the parties.”

Hence, the question of modification/adjustment would come only after five years of implementation. Till now, Tamil Nadu was getting Cauvery water only on the basis of the interim award, Mr. Ranganathan said.

Mr. Ranganathan mooted a water-sharing formula on a 54-46 per cent basis of the available storage (based on Karnataka’s contribution of 425 tmcft to the Cauvery basin and 192 tmcft to be released to Tamil Nadu) between the two States. This would avoid confusion even in a distress situation.

Acceptable water-sharing formula

The meeting of the CSC on June 12 should work out an acceptable water-sharing formula and Tamil Nadu should insist on the early formation of the CMB.

The CSC, he insisted, was only a temporary arrangement and should give way for the CMB.

Tamil Nadu officials should also press for the appointment of CWDT Chairman as it had remained headless for long.

State officials, who concurred with Mr. Ranganathan, described the Karnataka Chief Minister’s statement as an act of misquoting the CWDT’s final award.

They maintained that there was no provision for either the CSC or the CMB to scale down the quantum of water to be released.

Legal experts consulted by the officials also said that the award had to be executed as it is since it is a decree of the Supreme Court and failure to do so would mean contempt of court.

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