Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday ruled out a review of the Cauvery River Authority’s decision asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till October 20, rejecting a plea of Congress and BJP leaders from the state.
Congress Union Ministers from Karnataka S M Krishna, Mallikarjun Kharge and K H Muniyappa and 16 BJP MPs from the state led by M Venkaiah Naidu met the Prime Minister separately on Monday seeking a review of the CRA decision.
“Both the groups sought a stay. The Prime Minister told them that it is not permissible as there is no mechanism under CRA to change its award. It is not the decision of the PM but of the CRA. The CRA will have to meet again for any such thing,” Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, present in both the meetings, told reporters here. He quoted the Prime Minister as saying that the Centre will act keeping in mind the interests of both the states. CRA is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprises Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pudducherry and Kerala, besides the Water Resources Minister.
The Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) comprising the Union Water Resources Secretary and Chief Secretaries of the four states will meet here on October 11 to decide on the release of water by Karnataka after October 15.
“The CMC will decide on the issue in consultations with the states. If it fails, the issue may be referred back to CRA...Yes, CRA could be convened again in such a scenario,” Bansal said. He refused to comment on whether the Authority meeting could be convened before October 15, saying no date has been fixed.
“If there is a qualitative change in the situation following the onset of North-East monsoon in Tamil Nadu, the matter could end there,” he said. Bansal said based on flow from Karnataka, which varied from 4000 cusecs to 13,000 cusecs on different days, Tamil Nadu has received 1.21 lakh cusecs of water as against 1.44 lakh cusecs between September 20 and October 5.
He has circulated the data to the leaders who met Prime Minister Singh on Monday. He said besides the 65 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of water available in Karnataka’s main reservoirs, another 60 tmc of water was available in canals.
He said while the South-West monsoon has withdrawn, Tamil Nadu will get rains from the North-East monsoon shortly.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said on Monday that its order directing Karnataka to daily supply 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu will not be an impediment in the Prime Minister deciding on the review petition filed before the CRA.
“We clarify that our September 28, 2012 order shall not in any way be an impediment in the chairperson (Prime Minister) taking a decision on the review petition before it (CRA),” the apex court said. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have moved the Supreme Court against the CRA award. While Tamil Nadu has demanded more water, Karnataka has claimed that it is not in a position to release more water from Cauvery river to the neighbouring state. While Karnataka has said its standing crops are under threat, Tamil Nadu has claimed that its first crop has failed and seedlings of its “samba” or second crop will die due to lack of water.