PM has agreed for CRA meeting over Cauvery row

The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it will soon convene a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to consider Tamil Nadu's plea for release of 25.373 tmfct of water from Cauvery river to save the state's standing crops.

In an affidavit filed through counsel Wasim Ahmed Quadri, the Centre said it had written to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry on the proposed meeting for their
consent as the meeting was subject to availability of the quorum.

Once the consent of the states is obtained, the date would be fixed for the same, the Centre stated. Besides the PM, Chief Ministers of the four states are members of the committee.

The Centre also told the court that as on August 22, Tamil Nadu has received only 5.81 TMC of water and there was a deficit of 85.95 TMC as the state ought to have received 91.75 TMC of normal rains.

On August 13, the apex court had sought the Centre's response to Tamil Nadu government's plea to convene a meeting of the CRA to discuss the distress situation in the state.

However, the apex court had declined to give any specific direction to the CRA as sought by Tami Nadu's counsel C S Vaidyanathan saying "can we direct the Prime Minister to release the water? Can we force a committee headed by the Prime Minister to decide?"

The bench of Justices D K Jain and Madan Lokur also directed Karnataka government to file its reply on Tamil Nadu's application for evolving a distress water-sharing formula and posted the matter for September 3. The bench said in its order that the "Union of India to place before us its response to the application particularly a personal request made by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to the Prime Minister by separate letter which are on record."

The state has sought a direction to the Centre for convening the CRA meeting immediately to perform its statutory obligations and approve the distress-sharing formula evolved by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee for sharing of flows of the river Cauvery in view of the prevailing "distress" situation in Tamil Nadu.

Jayalalithaa had also written letters to the Prime Minister for the CRA meet. The apex court had expressed its disappointment at the conduct of the Centre in not deputing any senior law officer to assist the court in the matter.

In its application, Tamil Nadu has said that during the current irrigation year, 2012-2013, though the south west monsoon is not vigorous in Cauvery catchment of Karnataka, the state of Karnataka has received 21.9 TMCft of inflow in its four major reservoirs up to July 20.

"But it has not shared the water with Tamil Nadu. Instead, it started to build the storages in its 4 major reservoirs and letting water in the canals of Krishna Raja Sagar for irrigation, with the result that the state of Tamil Nadu is deprived of its due waters as per the interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal," the application said.

It complained that over the years Karnataka did not agree to the distress-sharing formula evolved by the Central Water Commission/Cauvery Monitoring Committee, with the result that it "resorts to impounding all the flows in its reservoirs depriving Tamil Nadu in getting its legitimate flows, more so during the lean years, thus aggravating the distress situation."

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