`State must protest against Centre's order on Cauvery'

BANGALORE May 29. The JD(S) leader, H.N. Nanje Gowda, has demanded that the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, lead an all-party delegation to the President, K.R. Narayanan, to protest against "the unconstitutional" directive from the Centre asking the State to implement the 1892 Cauvery river water agreement.

He also demanded that the Chief Minister convene an emergency session of both the Houses of the legislature to discuss the directive from the Union Government.

He told presspersons here on Wednesday that though the Centre had sent the letter to Karnataka about a year ago, the State Government had not sent a reply expressing its resentment.

Mr. Gowda said the Cauvery water dispute was before the tribunal, and the Centre had no right to direct the State Government to abide by the 1892 agreement (signed on February 18 that year) between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Mysore State.

Mr. Gowda accused the Krishna Government of being irresponsible, and charged the Centre with having connived with Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu against the interests of Karnataka. He said the Centre had committed contempt of court by sending the letter, and the State should have lodged a strong protest. He warned that if Karnataka did not express its resentment, its silence might be construed as "consent", which would cause injustice to it.

Mr. Gowda pointed out that the Bachawat Tribunal, which adjudicated the Krishna river waters dispute, had suppressed agreements, including those signed in 1892, 1944, and 1946, and the Centre had exceeded its powers by sending the directive to the State.

The letter from the Union Government, dated June 15, 2001, was in response to one dated December 21, 2000 that Mr. Krishna wrote to his Andhra Pradesh counterpart.

Mr. Krishna's purportedly said that since Karnataka was not a successor State to the princely State of Mysore, the agreement of 1892 was not binding on it. The letter also purportedly stated that since Andhra Pradesh was not a successor to the Madras Presidency, it could not enforce any of the clauses of the agreement.

According the letter from the Union Government, the Andhra Pradesh Government had requested it to direct Karnataka to abide by the 1982 agreement till the review of the pact or a new agreement was signed. It said Karnataka should not implement any new project in the restricted zone without the concurrence of the Andhra Pradesh Government. The letter said that the Union Minister for Water Resources had, in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice and as per Article 294(b) of the Constitution read with Section 87(1)(b) of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, concluded that agreements which were entered into between Mysore State and Madras Presidency were binding on Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu as they were parts of Madras Presidency and Mysore State.

The Centre, through the letter, advised Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to abide by the agreement of 1892 and the one signed on December 28, 1993 in continuation of the former, and take up new works in conformity with them, so that the riparian rights of both the States were not affected.

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