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Cauvery water row: SC okays Centre's draft management scheme; highlights

Differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on sharing of water in the Cauvery river have been in existence from the time of two agreements signed during period of British govt ruling the country

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The on Friday approved the Cauvery Management Authority (CMA) for the implementation of the 2007 Cauvery Award, as modified and reaffirmed by the top court by its February 16 judgment. The Cauvery water management scheme will deal with the release of water from to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said the government would notify it before the monsoon season sets in June.

Headquartered in Delhi, the CMA will be the sole body to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award as modified by the apex court. The Centre would have no say in it except for issuing administrative advisories to it.

The CMA will be assisted in the discharge of its functions by a Regulatory Committee located in Bengaluru.

On May 14, the Centre submitted in the Supreme Court the draft of the Cauvery management scheme, following which the court had said it will examine whether the scheme conformed to its February 16 judgment.

On May 3, the apex court had rapped the Centre for not framing the Cauvery management scheme for river-water sharing between four southern states. Karnataka, which is facing a political tug of war between BJP and Congress-JD (S) over government formation, had earlier made a failed bid to temporarily stall the finalisation of draft Cauvery management scheme. Here are the top developments on Cauvery water management scheme: 1. SC approves draft Cauvery Management Scheme: The on Friday approved the Centre's draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry).

A bench headed by rejected the suggestions of and Kerala governments over the scheme, terming them as devoid of merits. The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's award, which was modified by the apex court, has to be taken to the logical conclusion by the Cauvery Management Scheme. ALSO READ: Cauvery management scheme: SC reserves order on Centre's draft plan 2. SC dismissed Tamil Nadu's plea: The Supreme Court also dismissed Tamil Nadu's plea seeking initiation of contempt against the Centre for non-finalisation of Cauvery scheme. The top court had made it clear that it would see that the draft scheme is "in consonance with its judgement only." Earlier, the bench had red-flagged the provision empowering the Centre to issue the directions, saying "this part (power of Centre to issue directions) of the scheme is not in consonance with the judgement. We make it clear to you". The observation was made after the Centre had submitted the draft Cauvery management scheme in the court for its approval. 3. What happened yesterday: The on Thursday reserved its order on the Central government's draft Cauvery management scheme, saying it would pass the order after examining whether the scheme was in consonance with its earlier judgment. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Justice D. Y. Chandrachud said it would issue the order on Friday at 2 pm. had raised objections to the draft scheme, saying it was not in "consonance" with the Supreme Court judgment. The top court on Wednesday asked the central government to modify its draft scheme for setting up of a (CMB) that will be the sole authority for implementing the Cauvery Water Tribunal Award. It also sought to drop of the clause which said that in case of a dispute, the matter would be decided by the Centre and it would be final and binding. ALSO READ: Cauvery water sharing: SC says Centre in 'sheer contempt' of its direction 4. SC's earlier verdict on Cauvery water dispute: The apex court, in its verdict delivered on February 16, had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, including the creation of the Cauvery Management Board, for the release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The scheme, once finalised, would deal with the issue of water share of the four states in different circumstances like normal and deficient water years in the Cauvery river basin. The top court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground. It had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a "higher pedestal". 5. Modi had faced backlash in Tamil Nadu in April: Narendra Modi was greeted with slogans of 'Modi go back' and a sea of black flags when he arrived at Tamil Nadu capital Chennai to formally inaugurate DefExpo 2018.

There were protests all across Tamil Nadu against the logjam on the issue of setting up the Later in the day, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami urged the Centre to set up the so as to ease farmers' troubles before the start of the next irrigation season in June. All throughout the day, the issue took the centre stage in Tamil Nadu with actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan shooting a letter to PM Narendra Modi asking him to fulfil his ''constitutional duty'' by setting up the CMB. ALSO READ: Cauvery row: Centre isn't bothered about farmers in Tamil Nadu, says DMK In the past couple of weeks, the southern state has heated up as no concrete plan for the formation of the CMB has emerged. Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) matches were shifted from Chennai on Wednesday as a pro-Tamil Nadu group created nuisance at the Chepauk during a match between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders. As the prime minister landed at IIT Madras, students received him with a silent protest against the Centre's inaction regarding the formation of the board. However, the protests took an ugly turn when a man from the Erode district of Tamil Nadu attempted self-immolation. He is reported to have suffered 90 per cent burns. 6. History of the Cauvery water dispute: Owing to the geographic peculiarities of the State, Tamil Nadu has been dependent on water from the rivers in Karnataka and Kerala for a long time now. The dispute between Tamil Nadu and these two states also has a long history. Differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on sharing of water in the Cauvery river, which is one of the main sources of water for irrigation in the agricultural lands of the Cauvery delta, have been in existence from the time of two agreements signed during the period of British government ruling the country. ALSO READ: Cauvery row: Self-immolation in Tamil Nadu to protest Modi visit; updates Two agreements were signed between the then Madras Presidency and the State of Mysore, in 1892 and 1924. Karnataka claimed that the water allocated to it from the river was inadequate and that the agreements favoured the Madras Presidency. Tamil Nadu has time and again claimed that the irrigated land in the State has increased over a period of time and the entire region is dependent on the water from the river for agriculture and survival. 7. What is the agitation for? Tamil Nadu, which witnessed State-wide protests over the ban on jallikattu in January last year, is again in agitation mode. On Thursday, the Opposition parties, led by the DMK, organised a bandh against the Centre’s failure to frame a scheme to implement the Cauvery water-sharing agreement set out in the February 16 judgment. Last Saturday, the AIADMK government moved the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Centre for its “wilful disobedience” in not implementing the verdict. ALSO READ: Cauvery issue: Pro-Tamil activists show PM Modi black flags, raise slogans 8. Why did the Centre not address the demand for setting up of the Cauvery Management Board? Citing the Assembly elections in Karnataka and describing the Cauvery as a “very emotive issue” in that State, the Centre told the Supreme Court, the notification of a scheme at this juncture “would lead to massive public outrage, vitiate the election process and cause serious law and order problems.” Seeking three more months, it wanted to know whether an implementation mechanism could be a “mixture of administrative and technical body,” and could have functions, different from what had been recommended by the Tribunal in the February 2007 order.


With Agency inputs

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 17:46 IST
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