TN opposes Jal Ministry taking over Cauvery Authority

Tamil Nadu parties oppose bringing Cauvery Authority under Jal Shakthi Ministry

DMK President M K Stalin

Union Government’s decision to bring the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) under the Ministry of Jal Shakthi has led to a political storm in Tamil Nadu.

Opposition parties upped their ante against the Narendra Modi-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government, accusing it of "tilting towards” Karnataka and decried the move as one aimed at “diluting” the powers of the independent body formed after the 2018 Supreme Court judgement.

Farmers’ association also took objection to the “unilateral” move by the Centre to bring the CWMA under the Ministry of Jal Shakthi saying it was aimed at “helping Karnataka” which was opposing such a body for sharing of Cauvery water from the beginning. However, the Tamil Nadu government said in a statement on Wednesday night it was just an “administrative move” and will have no effect of farmers’ welfare.

The CWMA was formed in June 2018 after the Supreme Court in its February 16, 2018 order asked the Centre to frame a Cauvery Management Scheme for release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

DMK President M K Stalin accused the Tamil Nadu government of being a “mute spectator” to the activities of the Centre that is attempting to snatch the autonomy of the CWMA. “The Chief Minister (Edappadi K Palaniswami) should convene a cabinet meeting immediately and pass a resolution against the Centre’s notification bringing the CWMA under the Ministry of Jal Shakthi,” Stalin said in a statement here.

He also added that the DMK will lead a massive protest by rallying political parties and farmers’ association if the Centre does not withdraw the notification dated April 20, 2020. Stalin also pointed out that the AIADMK government did not exert enough pressure on the Centre for not appointing a full-time chairman for the CWMA since it came into existence two years ago.

AMMK chief T T V Dhinakaran also spoke on similar lines, asking the ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK, who have more than 50 MPs in both houses of Parliament, to exert pressure on the Centre against the move.

“Bringing the CWMA under a ministry is tantamount to taking the problem to the place where it began. The Centre should take back the decision,” Dhinakaran said in a statement.

P R Pandian, President of Tamil Nadu All Farmers Organisations Committee, said the Centre’s decision was shocking and seems aimed at helping the Karnataka Government.

“The Centre did not appoint a full-time chairman for the CWMA since its existence and due to the retirement of Water Resources Secretary Masood Hussain, the authority did not function for long. And now to bring the CWMA under the Ministry of Jal Shakthi is nothing but taking away the rights of farmers in Tamil Nadu,” he said in a statement.

As per the notification issued by President of India, as per the Government of India (allocation of business) 1961, all river boards including Cauvery, Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board brought under the Department of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Officials clarified that the notification has no impact on the independent nature of the functioning of the Authority.