The Centre on Monday submitted a draft scheme to the Supreme Court to implement the apex court’s award for distribution of Cauvery river water. The scheme envisages a nine-member authority that is yet to be named and a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) — both borrow heavily from the 2007 recommendations of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).
The authority, which will be headquartered in Bengaluru, is very similar to the Cauvery Management Board the Tribunal recommended. The function of CWRC too seems largely based on what was laid down by the Tribunal.
The authority, which will have five nominees of the Centre and four of the parties to the dispute, will supervise the operation of reservoirs and regulate water release with the assistance of CWRC. The CWRC is tasked with collecting details about inflows and storage positions of reservoirs across the states. The draft scheme puts the Centre as the “final” arbiter in disputes between riparian states, unlike the recommendations of the Tribunal that had proposed only a consultant’s role for the Centre.
Official sources said this also serves as a dispute resolution mechanism. Ministry of Water Resources secretary U P Singh said, “However, nothing prevents a State from approaching a Court of law.”
Karnataka said it will challenge the draft for being inconsistent with Sec 6A of Inter-State River Water Dispute, Act, 1956 and being violative of Constitutional provisions. The court will hear the matter next on May 16.
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