Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to issue instructions to the Ministry of Water Resources for publishing the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (dated February 5, 2007) in the Gazette of India and have the Cauvery Management Board in place immediately.
In a letter to the Prime Minister on Monday, Ms. Jayalalithaa stated that the Karnataka government had consistently taken the stand that after the final order of the tribunal, there was no enforceable governing regime since the interim order ceased to exist.
Though the final order had not been gazetted, it should be considered as the pro tem governing regime on all matters, including distress sharing and irrigated areas in Karnataka, she said. The Karnataka government had also stated that its suggestion should not be considered as acceptance of the correctness of the final order of the tribunal.
In these circumstances, it was incumbent on the Centre to notify the final order of the tribunal in the Gazette for it to become effective and binding on the parties to the dispute and a mechanism for the implementation of the final order to be established.
Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled the memorandum she had submitted to the Prime Minister in person (on June 14, 2011) seeking his instructions to publish the final order.
The Chief Minister said that she was of the view that notwithstanding the pendency of the civil appeals and reference petitions and without prejudice to the outcome of these petitions in the Supreme Court and the Tribunal, the final order should be published in the gazette as required under section 6(1) of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
As the Prime Minister was aware, the Cauvery is the lifeline of Tamil Nadu, catering to more than 80 per cent of canal irrigation. The quality of life and food security of the State depended on the timely release of its waters for irrigation.
The Karnataka government, the upper riparian State, was duty bound to ensure stipulated monthly flows during irrigation season every year.