TAMIL NADU

Draft Cauvery scheme based on 2007 tribunal order

New approach:Eight important reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, including four in Karnataka and three in Tamil Nadu, shall be “operated in an integrated manner,” as per the draft scheme.

New approach:Eight important reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, including four in Karnataka and three in Tamil Nadu, shall be “operated in an integrated manner,” as per the draft scheme.  

The draft Cauvery Water Management Scheme, as prepared by the Union government and submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday, is essentially based on the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final order of February 2007.

The functions of the proposed implementation mechanism, as mentioned in the draft scheme, have been virtually reproduced from the section in the final order dealing with “Guidelines for the Cauvery Management Board” (pages 232-236, Volume V).

Only three clauses have been added in the draft scheme. They refer to the proposed mechanism, which the draft scheme calls “authority,” maintaining an account of cropping pattern, area cropped and area irrigated; the provision for the authority to seek the Centre’s help in the event of non-cooperation by any State and the authority having to abide by “directions” of the Central government.

[On the nomenclature issue regarding the implementation mechanism, the Centre has sought the Supreme Court’s direction].

The significant difference between the final order and the draft scheme is that the latter does not talk of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), which the tribunal had recommended. Under the BBMB model, all assets, including dams, would be operated and maintained by the Board, whereas such a system has not been envisaged in the draft scheme.

Even on the issue of operation of reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, three specialists, including an advocate who has been representing Tamil Nadu, point out that the provisions in the draft scheme have been drawn from the tribunal’s final order. The draft scheme has used the term “authority” instead of the “Cauvery Management Board.” All the words other than this have been taken from the final order. The essence of this clause in the scheme is that eight important reservoirs in the basin, including four in Karnataka and three in Tamil Nadu, “shall be operated in an integrated manner” by the State concerned under the “overall guidance” of the authority.

Composition of authority

As regards the composition of the authority, the Central government has sought to make the post of chairman available to candidates belonging to the all India service, such as Indian Administrative Service, in addition to “senior and eminent” engineers. In respect of representatives of the basin States and the Union Territory of Puducherry in the authority, the draft scheme has included secretaries of Water Resources Departments of each constituent of the basin at the cost of chief engineers from the respective States and the Union Territory who were suggested by the Tribunal.

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