Millennium Post

Can PM solve Cauvery crisis?

Meeting for the first in nine years, Cauvery River Authority session on Wednesday is expected to be a stormy affair with Tamil Nadu set to demand more water from Cauvery river to save its standing crops while Karnataka will seek a new policy to share water.

CRA, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would meet on Wednesday evening and will be attended Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. It will be preceded by day-long discussions among officials from the member-states with Water Resources Ministry authorities.

CRA, set up in 1997, is meeting for the first time after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance [UPA] came to power in 2004. The last meeting was held in February, 2003 when A B Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

The much-awaited meeting comes after a demand by Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa that a meeting of CRA should be convened to discuss the state’s water problem while flagging the need for immediate release of water from Cauvery river to save standing crops.

The state, which is fighting a legal battle against Karnataka on the water issue, has also complained to the Supreme Court about non-convening of such a meeting prompting the apex court to pull up PMO officials on September three for inordinate delay. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which have been battling the issue for over two decades, are expected to stick to their respective stands.

Karnataka has already made it clear that it would demand a new formula to share Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu and other states when monsoon fails.

It would also seek a ‘fresh distress formula based on ground realities’. Karnataka has refused to release water to Tamil Nadu and other riparian states on a formula announced by Cauvery River Tribunal in 2007 citing failed monsoon. In its application in the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu had said during the current irrigation year 2012-2013, though the southwest monsoon is not vigorous in the Cauvery catchment of Karnataka, the state of Karnataka has received 21.9 TMCft of inflow in its four major reservoirs upto 20 July.
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