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Cauvery row: Board could be judicial or administrative, says official

A view of the bone dry Cauvery river in Tiruchi on March 13, 2018.   | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

The proposed arrangement to apportion Cauvery waters could be a “judicial or even administrative board,” said U.P. Singh, Secretary, Union Water Resources Ministry. “Whether it’s called a Cauvery Management Board or an Authority doesn’t really matter,” he said on the sidelines of a press conference on Tuesday.

His comments come a day after the Supreme Court reprimanded the Centre for not putting in place a scheme to ensure water distribution among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in line with its orders.

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to submit a draft scheme by May 3. Mr. Singh said there was “clarity” on how the government could proceed with constituting members of the scheme. However, there wouldn’t be fresh discussions with States as everyone’s views were already communicated.

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in an earlier order had said that the CMB ought to be headed by a Chief Engineer with at least 20 years of experience.

The CWDT had prescribed the setting up of a CMB and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) to monitor the implementation of its order.

The CMB would monitor the storage position in the Cauvery basin and the trend of rainfall, to assess the likely inflows for distribution among the States. The CWRC will ensure the Tribunal’s order is carried out in due spirit.

The CMB envisaged three full-time members including a chairman. It was also to consist of six part-time members, four of whom will be from the riparian States of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Another official told The Hindu that while a “broad framework was ready” the matter still pending before the Water Ministry was on “defining” the powers of the various members of the proposed Board. “After the SC verdict of February, we got representations from all concerned States. So everyone’s concerns have to be accommodated and the scope of the powers of members needs to be defined.”

On Monday, the three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra expressed its disappointment over the Centre’s lack of resolve to play its part in ending the water conflict between neighbours, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

A February 16 judgment of the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to frame the scheme by March 29. Yet, on the eve of the deadline, the Centre moved the court seeking another three months to finish the task. This would have taken it well past the Karnataka Assembly election scheduled on May 12.


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 9:04:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cauvery-body-could-be-judicial-administrative-water-secretary/article23491287.ece

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