Contends that formation of supervisory committee has become a futile exercise
Contending that the setting up of a supervisory committee had become a futile exercise, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board forthwith for the effective implementation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
In a fresh application, Tamil Nadu said the court, on May 10, directed the Centre to constitute a pro-tem supervisory committee consisting of officials of the Union Water Resources Ministry and the States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry for the purpose of ensuring the implementation the final order. The Centre notified the formation of the committee on May 22. Commenting on the way Karnataka presented its position on the issue during the first meeting of the committee on June 1, the application stated that the neighbouring State was attempting to get over the binding adjudication and avoid the implementation of the final order in letter and spirit.
“Karnataka, on the one hand, suggested the formation of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee and, on the other hand, is objecting to the framing/adoption of the guidelines given by the Tribunal for the Cauvery Management Board, by the Supervisory Committee for implementation of the final order.”
In the committee’s next meeting on June 12, Karnataka filed detailed submissions which would virtually result in non-implementation of the final order of the Tribunal. Its stand that the committee could not take decisions as it was not properly formed “clearly demonstrate” that Karnataka was not willing to share water with Tamil Nadu and that it would continue “defiant attitude” of not implementing the binding adjudication of the Tribunal. “Thus, the said stand of Karnataka virtually rendered the entire exercise futile, compelling Tamil Nadu to move this court for the immediate constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.”
The action of Karnataka was clearly an “abuse of process of law” and amounted to contempt of the Supreme Court’s order dated May 10. “The storage in Karnataka reservoirs has increased from about 14 tmcft [thousand million cubic feet] recorded on June 10 to 36 tmcft, as on June 24, an increase of 22 tmcft.”
Hence, Tamil Nadu sought a direction to Karnataka to immediately release 10 tmcft of water due to Tamil Nadu for June and thereafter to release the 10 day flows/monthly flows in the subsequent months as per the final order of the Tribunal, apart from direction to Karnataka to release 53.18 tmcft to Tamil Nadu, being the shortfall at Mettur Reservoir for the water year 2012-2013 as computed on the pro rata sharing formula by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee.
Keywords: Cauvery water dispute, Cauvery Management Board, Cauvery Water Regulation Committee, Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Tamil Nadu-Karnataka relations, inter-state disputes, water sharing, water rights