The Narendra Modi-led BJP government must not set up the Cauvery river water Management Board at the insistence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha since the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said after taking an all party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Cauvery issue.
The Karnataka chief minister had on Monday called a meeting of all political parties and floor leaders in the state legislature to discuss demands placed before the BJP goverment by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha for the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board to implement a water distribution plan as per a 2007 order of the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
Following the meeting with all parties, including the opposition BJP in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that he would take an all party delegation to New Delhi to apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the current legal position in the Cauvery water dispute.
In Delhi on Tuesday Siddaramaiah said that the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board itself had been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter has been clubbed with civil cases questioning the final award of the Cauvery tribunal.
“The government of India must not come under the influence of the Tamil Nadu chief minister and order the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board. There are indications from media reports that the government is proceeding in this direction. The government of India must guide the Prime Minister properly on the legal position in the matter,” Siddaramaiah said.
JDS leader and former law minister M C Nanaiah who attended the all party meeting on Monday said that it would be premature for the government of India to order the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board since the matter is before the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court is apprised of the issue and may itself order the constitution of the board. In any case the board cannot be constituted unilaterally without consulting the states,” Nanaiah said.
As per the 2007 final award of the Cauvery River Disputes Tribunal, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court, Karnataka as the riparian state for the Cauvery has to release 192 tmc of water to Tamil Nadu in a normal monsoon year (June-May). The order did not spell out the sharing formula for distress years. Karnataka is claiming rights over 465 TMC of water as opposed to the award of the tribunal.
The tribunal’s 2007 final order had envisaged the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board to ensure water sharing as per the awarded formula. “The proposed board will protect the interests of the lower riparian state – Tamil Nadu – virtually taking control over the Karnataka reservoirs which have been built by the state’s own resources. This would be a draconian measure which is against the spirit of the federal system. Therefore, unless the civil appeals are finally decided by the Supreme Court, it is not appropriate to constitute a Management Board,” the BJP government in Karnataka under chief minister Jagadish Shettar had written to the UPA prime minister Manmohan Singh on February 18, 2013.