Today's Paper

CRA meet after PM's return

CHENNAI SEPT. 21. Notwithstanding Karnataka's objection, the distress-sharing formula worked out by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee, will be placed before the Cauvery River Authority for its approval at the next meeting.

The committee, headed by the Water Resources Secretary, A.K. Goswami, submitted the formula to the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, also chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, before he went on a foreign tour. As per the Prime Minister's directive, the committee sent the formula and minutes of the last CMC meeting to all four States — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala — according to information received here. The CRA is likely to meet immediately after the Prime Minister's arrival to take a final decision.

Tamil Nadu is satisfied with the formula, but it is apprehensive that Karnataka might not cooperate in conducting the meeting. Tamil Nadu had the bitter experience of the CRA not being convened owing to a lack of quorum, with Karnataka Kerala and Pondicherry not participating. It is apprehensive that Karnataka, which did not agree to the adoption of the proposed distress formula at the last meeting, might adopt a similar strategy to ``sabotage'' the meeting, according to water managers here.

The CMC formula was worked out by a sub-group of technical experts, which reviewed the formulae submitted by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A number of modifications were made in the draft formula proposed earlier and the present formula was comprehensive and rational, according to the monitoring committee. It took into account all inflows being received in the Mettur reservoir and was based on data of 29 years.

Storage poor

Meanwhile, the situation in delta districts is grave as farmers, who had already lost kuruvai, are not in a position to take up samba cultivation owing to poor storage in the reservoir. Unless they are assured of a continuous water supply for two months, they will not venture to take up samba cultivation. Though the inflow in the reservoir was about 4,000 to 5,000 cusecs last fortnight, it is not sufficient to improve the storage substantially. The present storage is 29.26 tmcft, against the total capacity of 93.47 tmcft. Various farmers' associations have been urging Karnataka to release water to help the agriculturists in cultivating samba.

The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, had written to the Prime Minister asking him to convene the Cauvery River Authority at the earliest. The State Government had taken all necessary steps to get the State's due share of Cauvery water. Any move to take up the issue with the Supreme Court could be made only if the CRA failed to resolve the issue, official sources said.

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