‘CMB can’t work sans Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’

Can the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) by itself assess prima facie the ground realities in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as stated by the Attorney-General of India before the Supreme Court on Friday?

No, say some of the legal experts, who have knowledge of the award passed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

They point out that the tribunal has asked for setting up of CMB for “supervision of operation of reservoirs and regulations of water releases therefrom” only with the assistance of another body called ‘Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)’, and the power to constitute the CWRC has been given to the CMB.

CWRC tasks

Moreover, it is the CWRC that has been entrusted with tasks such as collecting daily water levels, inflows and storage position at each reservoir, releasing water as per the tribunal order, collecting data of water released from the reservoir, collecting daily water flows passing through the inter-State contact point etc., the experts said.

Stating that the CMB will have to function purely based on the input given by the CWRC, B.V. Acharya, former Advocate-General, points out that the Attorney-General of India, without examining the tribunal order, could not have stated before the Supreme Court that the CMB itself can proceed to the Cauvery basin “forthwith to take prima facie view of the ground reality.”

Situations of distress

A former Additional Advocate-General also points out that the tribunal’s order, which the Supreme Court is relying on at present while asking the Centre to constitute CMBs, makes it clear that the CMB, through the CWRC and with the help of the Central Water Commission, and other Central/State organisations as necessary, will have to identify situations of distress in the basin.

Need for infrastructure

They also point out that as the eight reservoirs spread in three States will have to be operated in an integrated manner by the concerned State under the overall guidance of the CMB, it will not be ideal for the CMB to begin work without any infrastructure as per the tribunal’s order.

B.V. Acharya, former Advocate-General, has said that the Cauvery Management Board

will have to function purely based on the input given by the Cauvery Water

Regulation Committee

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