The Centre on Friday held consultations with top officials from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on the Supreme Court verdict on the Cauvery water issue and its order to set up a Cauvery Water Management Board within six weeks.
Central Water Resources Secretary Upendra Prasad Singh met the Chief Secretaries and Water Resources Secretaries of the four states amid speculation that Karnataka may file a review petition against the Supreme Court order.
"Where does the question arise? The Supreme Court has already passed an order and that order is applicable to everybody," replied Singh to a query on whether the states had any issue on the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board.
It also upheld the water-sharing decision by the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) taken on February 5, 2007 but raised the share of Karnataka marginally and reduced Tamil Nadu's share while directing constitution of the Board.
"The Supreme Court has directed that we must put in place a scheme under Section 6A of Inter-State Water Dispute Act. So we held a consultation on what should the scheme be like, what should be its structure, functions, roles and responsibilities," he said.
While BBMB has taken over the assets, NCA regulates the release supervision while assets remain with the state government.
As for the Supreme Court's verdict on following the Tribunal's order, the Secretary said it was a matter of interpretation and that the Tribunal had basically given a recommendation.
It may happen that the final shape could be exactly what the Tribunal suggested in the sense that it should be a nine-member body and its Chairman would be a Chief Engineer, said Singh.
The meeting discussed the views of the four states, the recommendations of the Tribunal and whether there was any need for modifications. The board would be a neutral body with representations from all four states.
"If you go by the Tribunal's recommendations, it has recommended a two-tier structure. The first tier has to be notified by the Government... And thereafter there has to be a regulatory committee which is to be notified by the Board," he said.
At the meeting, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan urged the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) and Cauvery Water Regulatory Authority (CWRA) as directed by the Supreme Court.
"Further, the state has suggested that the two bodies should have full powers to do their job," an official statement said.
Karnataka Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha said: "The unanimous decision is that there should be a scheme. We have to recommend what should constitute a scheme. We will go back and give our recommendations by Monday or Tuesday."
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