Farmers oppose Centre’s move on Cauvery management authority

Farmers’ leaders say it could erode autonomy and dilute powers of the Authority

The Union government’s decision to bring the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti has evoked stiff opposition from farmers’ organisations in the Cauvery delta region.

While the move was viewed as an “administrative procedure” in official circles in Chennai, a section of farmers’ leaders has expressed apprehensions that it could erode the autonomy and dilute the powers of the Authority. The Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, the original petitioner in the Cauvery dispute, however, hoped that the Centre’s latest notification would not have any adverse impact for the State.

The CWMA was constituted in June 2018 under the direction of Supreme Court to give effect to the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the court in its order dated February 16, 2018.

S. Ranganathan, general secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, hoped that the character of the CWMA as enunciated in the orders of the Tribunal and Supreme Court would not be changed by the Centre’s latest notification. “We don’t know why it has been done now but hope the CWMA will continue to have the same powers and strength of force,” Mr.Ranganathan observed.

But other farmers’ organisations viewed it as an attempt to render the CWMA ineffective. Reacting strongly, P.R.Pandian, general secretary, Tamizhaga Cauvery Vivasayigal Sangam, alleged that the decision was nothing but an attempt to cripple the CWMA. “The Centre’s actions appear to be supportive of Karnataka, which had opposed the formation of the CWMA. It has not even appointed a full-time chairman to the authority. The latest notification has come as a shock to us,” Mr. Pandian said and demanded the revocation of the notification.

The notification went against the final award of the Tribunal which clearly specified that the mechanism to enforce its order should be “independent in character and empowered,” observed Arupathy S. Kalyanam, general secretary, Federation of Farmers' Associations of Delta Districts. “The Supreme Court should take suo moto cognisance and strike down the notification,” he demanded.

“We can not expect the CWMA to act independently when it is under a Ministry of the Centre; we need an autonomous and empowered authority to get our monthly quota of water in Cauvery river,” said ‘Cauvery’ S. Dhanapalan, general secretary, Cauvery Farmers Protection Association. Questioning the timing of the notification, he termed it as “cunning” act by the Centre as farmers can not take to streets against it as prohibitory orders were in force now. “Nevertheless, we have decided to hoists black flags in our houses tomorrow and we will not hesitate to launch a protest if the Centre did not revoke the notification,” Mr.Dhanapalan said.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:07:25 AM |

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