Experts divided over Cauvery board's utility in resolving row

Last Updated 22 September 2016, 19:31 IST

Well-known irrigation expert Captain Raja Rao on Thursday said establishment of the Cauvery Management Board will ensure transparency in sharing the Cauvery river water among the riparian states.

“People need not panic if the board is set up as per the Supreme Court order. The board will only share the available water among the four riparian states. Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been recklessly using the Cauvery water. The problem may end once the board comes into effect. Not only the KRS reservoir, but all reservoirs of the Cauvery will be controlled by the board,” he told DH.

Merely opposing the establishment of the board gives an impression that Karnataka has been trying to hide something. Karnataka has witnessed the functioning of the Tungabhadra Management Board for over 60 years now. There has been no major problem as far as its functioning is concerned.

So, the riparian states have been able to share the water amicably, he added.

Differing voices
However, former chief engineer of the Tungabhadra Management Board V P Uddihal said the Cauvery river water sharing dispute is entirely different from that of the Tungabhadra.

“The management board should be set up only if there is consensus among the riparian states. Otherwise, it will not function effectively, and the dispute will continue,” he stated.

The riparian states of the Cauvery river do not share the common command area, unlike the Tungabhadra. Hence, the board will not have much role to play, except releasing water as per the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

“What we need to solve in this long-standing problem is a distress-sharing formula that is agreeable to all the riparian states. The board will not serve any purpose as far as the Cauvery river is concerned,” he said.

Former secretary to the Karnataka Water Resources department S J Channabasappa said establishing of the board will be detrimental to the state.

Karnataka will not be in a position to protect the interests of its farmers once the board is set up. The state will have no control over releasing water for irrigation and other purposes.

The problem of sharing the water arises only when rains fail. The problem can be solved only by coming out with a mutually-agreeable, distress-sharing formula.

The board comprising officials will not be able to decide how a distress situation can be dealt with. So, there is no use in establishing the board, he added.
DH News Service

Why the board?
The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final order had said a board can be set up on the lines of Bhakra-Beas Management Board, which monitors the release of water to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The board will be headed by a senior official as decided by the Water Resources Ministry. All the riparian states — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu  and Kerala — and the Union Territory of Puducherry will have their representatives on the board. 

While Karnataka has questioned the move to establish the board, Tamil Nadu has welcomed it.

(Published 22 September 2016, 19:31 IST)

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