PM non-committal on Cauvery authority: Kumaraswamy

PM non-committal on Cauvery authority: Kumaraswamy

bonhomie: Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday refused to commit anything on Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s plea to modify the notification issued by the Water Resources Ministry on setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Authority.

Kumarswamy met Modi here and requested him to bring in a modification to the notification issued, constituting the Authority, saying it would harm the Karnataka farmers’ interest.

However, when the Kumarswamy met Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari separately and raised the issue, the Union Minister promised to convene a meeting of officials of Cauvery riparian states soon to address their concerns.

In his plea to Modi and Gadkari, the chief minister said that if the Authority would be allowed to operate reservoirs and determine cropping pattern, it would impinge upon the rights of the state.

Emerging out of the meeting with Modi, Kumaraswamy told reporters that he explained the concerns of the state and sought his intervention.

While seeking the prime minister’s intervention, the chief minister said: “I have also told the prime minister that the Centre can’t issue notification without Parliament’s approval as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final order.”

He said Modi explained him that the Centre had issued the notification following the Supreme Court order and, it was binding on the Central Government as well as the states. 

As per the notification, once in 10 days the Authority officials will guage the water level in all the reservoirs in Cauvery basin in Karnataka and take a decision on releasing water to Tamil Nadu. It would be unscientific and it would harm us, Kumaraswamy said.

The chief minister said he met Gadkari separately and appraised him of the matter. While assuring to convene a meeting on the issue, Gadkari also suggested Karnataka to send the names of the officials who will be members of Authority, Kumaraswamy said.

While promising to suggest the names soon, the chief minister said he would again write to the Centre on the opposition by the state on formation of the Authority.

Kumaraswamy also requested the prime minister to help farmers to clear their outstanding agriculture loan.

Since the Government of India is raising special bonds to the extent Rs two lakh crores to assist the nationalised banks in improving their Capital Adequacy norms, the Centre may consider earmarking at least 25% of the funds raised, towards clearing outstanding loans of the distressed farmers, Kumaraswamy said.