The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka on Saturday decided to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision to order the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Authority. On June 1, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government notified the formation of the body in compliance with the court’s order on a water dispute involving Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The decision to move the Supreme Court was taken at all-party meeting called by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and attended by former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party state president BS Yeddyurappa. Kumaraswamy said that while the government respects the Supreme Court’s decisions, there are a few matters where “schemes were formed unscientifically”, ANI reported.
Karnataka has opposed the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Authority as it will have to renounce its control over three reservoirs that fall in the Cauvery river basin,The News Minute reported.
Irrigation Minister DK Shivakumar said the Supreme Court’s judgment was not in the interest of Karnataka. “We have appointed two officers to the authority and they will go to the meeting on July 2 to present our views and raise the issues of farmers of Karnataka,” Shivakumar said.
The irrigation minister said they had decided against their initial decision to not send any representatives to the committee meetings. “But now we cannot take any risk. We do not want them to make any decision without us,” Shivakumar said.
Karnataka’s legal team includes jurists Mohan Katarki and Fali Nariman, the irrigation minister said.
The Cauvery dispute
The Cauvery dispute has been going on for 22 years now. In February, the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 177.25 tmcft [thousand million cubic feet] of water fom the river every year to Tamil Nadu. This is less than the 192 tmcft of water that the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal allotted Tamil Nadu in 2007. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had moved the Supreme Court against the ruling.
The top court rejected recommendations of the Karnataka and Kerala governments, saying they were devoid of merit, PTI reported. The top court also dismissed Tamil Nadu’s petition to initiate contempt proceedings against the Centre for delays in finalising the scheme.