Centre notifies Cauvery Water Management Authority

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New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The Centre on Friday took the formal steps for notifying the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) for implementation of the Cauvery Water Tribunal Award on sharing of waters between Tamil Nadu, Karanataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

“The notification has been sent to the government press for being notified. It should be notified today (Friday) itself,” Water Resources Secretary U.P. Singh told IANS.

The Centre’s action comes less than a fortnight after the Supreme Court gave its nod for CWMA for the implementation of the 2007 Cauvery Tribunal Award after the government placed the scheme following the completion of assembly elections in Karnataka.

The central government had earlier taken the stand that it was not in a position to formulate the scheme in view of the sensitivity of the elections in Karnataka.

On May 18, a bench of the Supreme Court had observed that the draft scheme of the government was in consonance with the dictum and directions in the Award, as modified by this court and also in conformity with Section 6A of the 1956 Act.

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It asked the Centre to take the scheme forward to its logical end in accordance with law with utmost dispatch and be notified before the monsoon season sets in on June 1.

Replying to a question, the Water Resources Secretary said what is being notified is what the Supreme Court had accepted.

The Supreme Court, in its judgement, has brought out the entire scheme actually, he added.

Asked about further steps, Singh said the ministry will be writing to the states concerned to nominate their representatives on the authority and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

“I have also requested Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture to nominate their officer and there are a few officers to be nominated by our ministry. As soon as we get the nomination from states and Agriculture Ministry, then we will constitute the authority and the committee,” he said.

He said the authority will take shape in a few days time.

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Under the draft scheme presented to the court, the authority, which will be headquartered in Delhi, would the be sole body to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award — aimed at distribution of Cauvery waters between the party states as modified by the apex court. The Centre would have no say in it except for issuing administrative advisories to it.

The CWMA will be assisted in the discharge of its functions by a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) located in Bengaluru, mandated to collect daily water levels, inflows and storage position at Hemavathy, Harangi, Krishnarajasagara, Kabini, Mettur, Bhavanisagar, Amaravathy and Banasurasagar reservoirs.

Clearing the draft scheme, the court rejected the suggestion/objections to the scheme by Karnataka and Kerala.

The court had said that the CWMA will be bound by the contours regarding apportionment of river water in terms of the Award.

While doing so, the authority is “expected to take into account all factors that may be relevant at the given point of time, including to identify the situation of distress in the basin caused due to identifiable factors before quantifying the water quantity for being released or allotted to the party States/UT for the relevant period”.

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The court said that at best the Centre could give administrative advisories to the CWMA.

The authority is vested with the power and duty to “do any or all things necessary, sufficient and expedient for securing compliance and implementation of the final decision and directions of the tribunal further modified by Supreme Court order” of February 16.

The CWMA has been vested with the powers to supervise the storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters; supervision of operation of reservoirs and with regulation of water releases with the assistance of Regulation Committee; and regulated release by Karnataka at the inter-state contact point at Billigundulu gauge and discharge station, located on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

–IANS

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