KARNATAKA

Govt. reconstitutes advisory committee on Krishna dispute

Four-fold hike in remuneration for members of committee

Ravi Sharma

BANGALORE: Nearly 12 weeks after the resignation of the non-official members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on the Krishna Waters Dispute, the State Government has reconstituted the committee, broadened its purview and hiked the remuneration paid to the members.

The TAC deals exclusively with the technical aspects of the State's stand on the utilisation of Krishna waters and advises the Government on these matters. It also provides technical inputs in language that can be understood by the advocates on the State's legal panel.

Order issued

According to the Government Order issued on Friday, the former Public Works Department (PWD) Secretary D.N. Desai, who is the Principal Adviser to the Government on all matters relating to Krishna waters, including the master plan for Scheme A and Scheme B projects, has been designated as the Chairman of the reconstituted TAC.

Sources told The Hindu that Mr. Desai will "submit his recommendations, besides advising the legal team and the Government on general and specific issues that may arise or be referred to him by the Government from time to time."

The other nine non-official members of the TAC are M. Krishnappa, Secretary (retired), Irrigation Department; Umesh Rao, Secretary (retired), PWD; G.C. Tallur, Secretary (retired), PWD; S.J. Chennabasappa, Secretary (retired), Water Resources Development Organisation (WRDO); Prof. Ramaprasad, formerly of the Indian Institute of Science; R. Hrikesh, Chief Engineer (retired), Inter-State Water Disputes; M.S. Ramaprasad, Chief Engineer (retired), Irrigation Department; S.S. Magadal, Chief Engineer (retired), Irrigation Department; and A.V. Shankar Rao, Chairman, Cauvery Water Disputes Technical Committee.

The official members of the TAC are the Secretary, Water Resources Development; the Secretary, Minor Irrigation; the Managing Director, Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd; the Managing Director, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd.; Engineer-in-Chief, WRDO; B.S. Nadagoudar, Director of Extension, University of Agriculture Sciences (Dharwad); S.C.V. Reddy, Additional Director of Agriculture, Bangalore; the Director, Drought Monitoring Cell; and the Director, Bureau of Economic and Statistics. The Chief Engineer, Water Resources, is the member convener of the committee.

While most of the non-officials from the old TAC appointed by the S.M. Krishna dispensation have been retained in the reconstituted committee, the prominent names that are missing include those of S. Raja Rao and S.M. Panchagatti, both former Irrigation Secretaries, and V.B. Mamdapur, retired Chief Engineer.

The purview of the TAC has been broadened to include preparing the master plan not only for projects that Karnataka will be planning and constructing to utilise its share of surplus waters that are to be allocated by the Justice Brijesh Kumar Krishna Tribunal, but also, if necessary, for the revision of projects that have already been finalised. Previously a separate committee known as the Master Plan Committee was handling these issues.

Flexibility

Additionally, in a bid to allow the Chairman the flexibility to utilise the best man from the TAC for a specific job, the Government has directed that he "may assign special duties to any member/members and he may take the assistance of any member/members in the discharge of his duties, including interacting with the legal team."

If, for example, a matter of hydrology is to be discussed, then the hydrological expert alone can be consulted, instead of the entire committee having to meet.

This flexibility was not afforded to the Chairman of the previous TAC and is expected to be a time saving measure.

The Government was forced to reconstitute the TAC as the non-officials members of the committee resigned in March citing the low remuneration that they received vis-�-vis the members of the legal team. Sources said the Government hopes (subject to approval by the Finance Department) to increase the sittings fee to Rs. 1,000 for non-official members and Rs. 2,000 for the Chairman. (They were previously paid Rs. 250 for a sitting).

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