Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee in compliance with a Supreme Court order, PTI reported. Bedi’s letter came after Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy announced they would file a contempt petition against the Centre on the matter.
On February 16, the Supreme Court had ordered the Centre to set up the board within six weeks to ensure that its ruling on the allocation of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is implemented. The deadline expired on Thursday, March 29.
Bedi had reportedly denied the Puducherry Congress government permission to file a contempt petition, stating that the move would not be appropriate or legally permissible, The Times of India reported. She had suggested that the government file an interlocutory petition before the Supreme Court instead. The petition will help expedite the process, Bedi had said.
The lieutenant governor asked for the Centre’s intervention to address the plight of farmers in the Karaikal region. “The [Centre’s] filing of a clarificatory petition seeking an extension of time has created anxiety and unrest among the farming community of the Union territory,” The Times of India quoted Bedi’s letter as saying. “Agricultural operations in Karaikal are entirely dependent on the timely release of water from the river Cauvery. Due to an inordinate and abysmally low quantum of water released, the area under cultivation has drastically reduced affecting the livelihood of farmers and the farm workers there.”
Earlier on Tuesday, three All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLAs were arrested for protesting against Bedi and the Centre outside her official residence for their stance on the water dispute. They were later released.
On Monday, the police detained around 200 workers of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Chennai who were protesting against the Centre’s delay in constituting the Cauvery Management Board.