Karnataka questions Cauvery supervisory panel's mandate

Karnataka questions Cauvery supervisory panel's mandate

Karnataka on Tuesday questioned the mandate by the supervisory committee to “follow the recommendations” of Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal on water release, contending that the “pro-tem” arrangement could not do so as civil appeals were pending before the Supreme Court.

“The arrangement was to be purely a pro tem measure for ensuring implementation of the final order of the Tribunal dated February 5, 2007, now, notified vide notification dated February 19, 2011. But the notification of the Ministry of Water Resources dated May 22, 2013, does not strictly follow the intent and drift of the order of May 10, 2013, passed by the Supreme Court,” a note prepared by Karnataka Chief Secretary S V Ranganatha said.

It pointed out that the supervisory committee was to consist of the secretary to the Water Resources Ministry as chairman and the chief secretaries of the respective states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry as members but the Centre’s notification went beyond the court order as it included two other officials.
The note was submitted to the committee chairman.

“There is no factual basis to support the necessity of the monthly releases particularly between June to September in each water year. The procedure to be adopted for pro-rata or proportionate sharing has not been spelt out. Ground realities in the basin had to be and have to be considered for the sharing of distress as had been done in the years 2002-03 and 2012-13,” it said. 

Karnataka claimed that the only obligation cast on it was to ensure 192 tmc at the inter-state border Biligundlu in a normal year. 

“How Karnataka utilises the available water in its basin after meeting the said obligation does not fall within the ambit of the functions of the supervisory committee,” it contended.  
The State government had already made it clear that it was impossible to release 134 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu between June and September as stipulated in the Cauvery award. The Congress government had urged the supervisory committee to review its earlier order and scale it down to 97.82 tmcft. The supervisory committee is set to meet for the second time on Wednesday here in which the water sharing formula is to be worked out.

In the first meeting on June 1, Karnataka had sought time from the committee for making its written submissions.

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