Monday, October 8, 2012

SC anguish on Cauvery dispute - agitations will serve no purpose


Indian democracy every now and then exhibits that it is not mature enough and that gets highlighted in sharing of water – especially between riparian States.  Kaveri also called Cauvery reverred to be holier than ‘Ganges itself’ has been the centre of dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, for long. The genesis of the dispute dates back to the agreements dating back to 1892 and 1924.

The state of Karnataka contends that it does not receive its due share of water from the river as Tamil Nadu. Karnataka claims that these agreements were skewed heavily in favour of the Madras Presidency, and has demanded a renegotiated settlement based on "equitable sharing of the waters". The Government of India then constituted a tribunal in 1990 to look into the matter. After hearing arguments of all the parties involved for the next 16 years, the tribunal delivered its final verdict on 5 February 2007. In its verdict, the tribunal allocated 419 billion ft³ (12 km³) of water annually to Tamil Nadu and 270 billion ft³ (7.6 km³) to Karnataka; 30 billion ft³ (0.8 km³) of Kaveri river water to Kerala and 7 billion ft³ (0.2 km³) to Pondicherry. The dispute however, appears not to have concluded, as all four states deciding to file review petitions seeking clarifications and possible renegotiation of the order.

Now at a time when delta farmers are desperately in need of water, intense protests over the release of water to Tamil Nadu continue to sweep Cauvery river basin areas for the eighth day as Karnataka hoped for a "positive response" from the Supreme Court on Monday on its plea for reconsideration of the September 28 order. The agitators on Sunday continued their hunger-strike in Mandya, the Cauvery heartland, and staged a rasta-roko at Maddur-Gejjalagere , disrupting traffic on the Bangalore-Mysore highway.  Processions were also taken out in Mysore. Agitated farmers demonstrated at several places in Mandya and Mysore districts, raising slogans against the Central and Tamil Nadu governments.

Karnataka has sought stay or modification of the September 28 order which directed it to release 9,000 cusecs daily to the neighbouring state till October 15 as per orders of the Cauvery River Authority, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  There have been empty rhetoric and prattle by political parties fanning the public  anger.

Karnataka has been forced to release  water in line with a Supreme Court directive, asking it to abide by the September 19 CRA ruling to spare 9,000 cusces till October 15. It is reported that today, the Supreme Court expressed its anguish over the ongoing agitation in Karnataka over the Cauvery River Authority’s direction to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Justice DK Jain, pointing to the ongoing protests in Karnataka, told senior counsel Fali Nariman, who is heading Karnataka’s legal team on the issue, that “all these agitations don’t serve any purpose. Justice Jain said this in the course of the hearing of the application by Karnataka seeking the modification of the 28 September order, saying that it was not in a position to implement it.

On 19th Sep 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , who is also the Chairman of Cauvery River Authority (CRA), directed Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu (the border) daily from September 21 till October 15.  Karnataka states  that this is impractical due to the drought conditions prevailing because of the failed monsoon. Karnataka then walked out of the high level meeting as a sign of protest. On Sep 21, 2012, Karnataka filed a petition before the Cauvery River Authority seeking review of its September 19 ruling.  On Sep 28, 2012, the Supreme Court slammed the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the directive of the CRA. On Oct 4, 2012, the Karnataka government filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on its September 28 order.

From 6th of October, several Kannada organisations, under the banner of “Kannada Okkoota”,  have been protesting.  Today i.e., 8th of October 2012, SC said that it will review Karnataka's petition on Cauvery water sharing on October 12 after Karnataka  sought a deferment.  After this, the Karnataka CM is quoted as saying that it is not possible to release more water to Tamil Nadu. "We have conveyed this to Supreme Court by our senior counsel and this is the stand of the state government before the court”


Today after the failing to get relief from either PM or SC, Karnataka has stopped releasing Cauvery water – all crest gates at Krishnarajasagar dam were closed – stating that it is not physically possible for them.  Back home there is lurking fear of sea water incursion in to the plains  of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam as the situation remains grim..

When will the dispute end and when will Tamil Nadu farmers get their share of water, as apportioned by the Highest Court of the Nation

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Oct 2012. 

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