July 06 2020
After 11-year wait, hope trickles in
16 February 2018

The State’s fight for Cauvery water is now centred around the setting up of the management board

Tamil Nadu’s 11-year-long wait for a solution to the Cauvery dispute with Karnataka could come to an end on Friday with the Supreme Court likely to pronounce its verdict on the 2007 final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).

The State, which initially was disappointed that the final order was not categorical on the distress sharing formula, later turned its attention to the issue of establishing a Cauvery Management Board (CMB), as recommended by the Tribunal.

According to Tamil Nadu, the CMB is an essential pre-requisite for the effective implementation of the orders of the judicial bodies, including the Supreme Court and the CWDT. However, the demand for the CMB has been opposed by Karnataka.

Reason for cheer

In all these years, Tamil Nadu’s moment of elation came when the Supreme Court, in February 2013, mandated the Centre to have the order published in the gazette. At a rare press conference at the Secretariat (February 20), the day after the publication of the order in the Central gazette, the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, holding a copy of the notification, said, “It is the best birthday gift I ever had in my life.” Four days later, she turned 65.

In September 2016, when the southwest monsoon failed and caused widespread distress among the farmers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the court virtually got the CMB established and asked the basin-States to nominate their representatives. But the Centre’s stand that the court had no powers to have the CMB created made the latter to defer its order.

Farmers, political leaders and officials of the State are expecting that the Supreme Court, in its judgment, will come out with a scheme that will not only prescribe the schedule for water release but also spell out a mechanism that will oversee execution. Only such an arrangement, in their assessment, will make their wait meaningful.



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