It will greatly hurt Karnataka’s interests, says Deve Gowda

As the Supreme Court has set February 20 as the deadline for the Centre to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT), the Law and Justice Ministry has returned the file on the notification, after approving its draft, to the Ministry of Water Resources.

Sources said that now it was only a matter of days before the award is published in the government gazette after getting the Cabinet’s consent. The award will be published by the Water Resources Ministry.

The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) president, H.D. Deve Gowda, has made a last-ditch effort to stall the publication of the award, as he claimed it would greatly hurt Karnataka’s interests.

In an appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, Mr. Gowda said the notification of the award would have “very serious implications for the people of Karnataka who will be deprived of even drinking water” as the award was fundamentally flawed and the Special Leave Petition against the same was admitted and pending in the Supreme Court. The CWDT had failed to give the requisite position to the drinking water provided from the Cauvery for cities, including Bangalore and Mysore. Depriving people of drinking water would amount to violation of the basic, fundamental and human rights, he claimed.

The CWDT, in its final award on February 5, 2007, ordered Tamil Nadu to get 419 tmc ft. of water (against the demand of 562 tmc ft.), Karnataka 270 tmc ft. (against its demand of 465 tmc ft.), Kerala 30 tmc ft., and Puducherry 7 tmc ft. It had reserved 10 tmc ft. of water for environmental protection. Its award would come into effect within 90 days of its publication in the gazette.

After the notification is issued, institutions like the Cauvery River Authority and the Cauvery Monitoring Committee will be wound up and instead the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee will be formed with representatives from the riparian States — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.