Centre notifies Cauvery panels

Centre notifies Cauvery panels

The Union Water Resources Ministry on Friday issued an order forming the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC). The move comes despite Karnataka’s plea to the Centre not to constitute any panel to monitor the Cauvery water-sharing dispute till the state government’s concerns were addressed.

Central Water Commission chairman S Masood Hussian will head the CWMA, while Navin Kumar, chief engineer, irrigation management organisation at the Central Water Commission (CWC), will be the chairman of CWRC.

The CWMA is the umbrella body under which the CWRC will function. The committee (CWRC) will monitor day-to-day activities, including observing the water inflow and outflow of Cauvery basin reservoirs and release of water to irrigation canals. It will report to CWMA. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had recently met Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari to raise Karnataka’s concerns. Gadkari had told him to send its name for both the panels.

However, Kumaraswamy said the state was willing to send the names only on the condition that the Centre will address its concerns.

Karnataka objected to the notification of CWMA and CWRC, saying both the panels have powers that harm state’s interests.

According to the state, allowing the regulation committee to gauge water once in every 10 days in the Cauvery basin reservoirs in Karnataka and regulating the release of water to irrigation canals in its territory will directly infringe upon the rights of the state.

Besides, the committee’s power to decide the cropping pattern in Karnataka’s Cauvery basin areas would hurt the interest of farmers, the chief minister said in his plea. Kumaraswamy also made a similar plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Union Water Resources Ministry set up the panels to give effect to the decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court. Any delay in forming the authority and regulation committee by the Centre may invite contempt of court, said an official in the Ministry of Water Resources.