From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Feb 18: An all party delegation from Karnataka led by chief minister Jagadish Shettar called on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and demanded that the Centre should refrain from notifying the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final order until the disposal of the civil appeals filed by the three riparian states in the Supreme Court in Delhi on Monday.
The delegation, which comprised the State’s Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashok, Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar, Housing Minister V Somanna and Congress Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and JD(S) floor leader H D Revanna and other members besides BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar, was accompanied by Union Minority Minister Rehaman Khan.
The Prime Minister reportedly assured the delegation that the Centre would take an appropriate decision in consultation with the Union Law Ministry.
In its memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, the Karnataka delegation impressed upon the Centre that implementing the direction of the apex court for issuing the final notification by February 20 and contended that the existing system following the notification of the interim award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal issued on August 11, 1988, under which the Cauvery River Authority and Cauvery Monitoring Committee and all subsequent orders of the tribunal, including the final order of the tribunal must be continued.
It also pointed out that the Tribunal had not directed constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
''The Tribunal realizing the fact that constitution of a Board or Authority under Section 6! Of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 is the sole prerogative of the Central Government and also having regard to the fact that the regulations will have to be approved by the Parliament under Section 6A (7) of the ISRWD Act of 1956, has merely recommended constitution of a Board,” the memorandum said quoting the Tribunal’s actual direction:
''For this purpose, we recommend that Cauvery Management Board on the lines of Bhakra Beas Management Board may be constituted by the Central Government.”
The Karnataka delegation, in its memorandum, also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that the State Government has already challenged the Tribunal’s recommendation for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board as ''it will adversely affect the absolute authority of the State to regulate its reservoirs (under the State List),” and held that it ''would be an unjust and unconstitutional measure, which is against the spirit of the cooperative federal system.”
The memorandum contended that the Tribunal’s final order recommended a prescription of monthly accounting of the quota on proportionate sharing formula under the distress situation without assessing the ground realities has been of great concern.
''The focus has to be on addressing the situation during the distress years,” the memorandum said pointing out that ''even the Cauvery River Authority has not yet finalized the distress sharing formula.”
''Unless the (distress sharing formula) is addressed, the dispute would defy a permanent solution,” the memorandum said and held that constitution of the Cauvery Management Board as recommended by the Tribunal in its final order would not be appropriate.
The most important development to be borne in mind, the memorandum told the Prime Minister, was that the Tribunal has over-estimated the crop water requirement of Tamil Nadu ''based on the self-serving affidavits of the Tamil Nadu overlooking the objections of Karnataka.”
''The latest assessment made by the team of Central Water Commission (CWC) under the direction of Supreme Court has exposed the incorrect claims of Tamil Nadu,” it said and urged the Prime Minister to ensure that ''the very basis of allocation of water to Tamil Nadu needs to be revisited.”
The other points made in Karnataka’s detailed memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister are:
i) As against Karnataka’s claim of 465 TMC, only 270 TMC has been allocated (for a normal year)
ii) While the entire ‘atchkat’ of Tamil Nadu, both within the agreement of 1924 and outside the agreement is protected by the final Order of the Tribunal, however for Karnataka this has not been done.
iii) In spite of the findings of the various bodies, including UNDP as to the availability of abundant quantity of ground water in Cauvery Delta and in spite of Tamil Nadu’s own admission of availability 47 TMC of ground water, the Tribunal has given a finding that 20 TMC of ground water is available for use in conjunction with surface water. However, even this 20 TMC of ground water has not been accounted while stipulating releases of 192 TMC of water at the inter-State border - Biligundlu.
iv) Bangalore is the fastest growing metro city in the country. While assessing the drinking water requirement for the city, the Tribunal’s order has taken into consideration only the partial needs of the city leaving out two third (2/3 rd) of the needs of the city, where about 55 lakh people are living. Hence Bangalore city will face a perpetual water shortage. The Tribunal failed to note the gesture of Karnataka that it has shared 5 TMC of water from Krishna Basin for Chennai city. Even for other urban areas of Mysore, Mandya, Hassan and Tumkur and rural areas, the Tribunal has failed to allocate the due share.
v) The unallocated water of 48 TMC has been erroneously re-allocated on population basis which has drastically reduced the availability of crop water and adversely affected the ongoing projects in Karnataka.
vi) The Tribunal has allocated 55 TMC of water to the Grand Anicut Canal area in Tamil Nadu, even though the Mettur project report undisputedly mentions the requirement for the same as only 42 TMC.
vii) The Tribunal has double accounted 22,000 acres of paddy and by such double accounting has allocated 4 TMC of additional water to Tamil Nadu.
CM Urges Ajit Singh to Name BIAL After Kempegowda
The Chief Minister along with his ministerial colleagues called on the Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and requested him to accept the State Government’s request to name the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) after the city’s founder Kempegowda.
The Chief Minister brought to the Union Minister’s notice the unanimous resolutions adopted by both Houses of Karnataka Legislature to name BIAL as ''The Kempegowda International Airport.”