Cauvery tribunal awards, states reject

Published: Wednesday 28 February 2007

though the verdict on the Cauvery water dispute was pronounced on February 5, 2007, it has failed to reach a lasting consensus. The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (cwdt) took 16 years to come up with the final plan for sharing of Cauvery water between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

Tamil Nadu was awarded 419 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of Cauvery water, out of which 192 tmcft will be released by Karnataka and the rest 227 tmcft is to be released from tributaries within Tamil Nadu such as the Amaravathy, Bhavani and Noyyal rivers, apart from ground water. Karnataka was awarded 270 tmcft, Kerala is to get 30 tmcft, and Puducherry was awarded only 7 tmcft.

All the riparian states (Tamil Nadu and Kerala) are unhappy with the verdict. Karnataka has decided to file a review petition before the tribunal. Tamil Nadu's initial enthusiasm gave way to complaints, with farmers too joining in. "The allotment of 192 tmcft, as against the 205 tmcft allotted earlier under the tribunal's interim order, is a grave injustice to our state," said R Venkataraman, president of Tamilaza Vuzavar Munnai, a Chidambaram-based farmers' movement.

The dispute dates back to 1892. An agreement was reached between the then Mysore government (now Karnataka) and the then Madras government (now Tamil Nadu) on sharing the Cauvery water. The pact was reviewed in 1924, which Tamil Nadu accepted but Karnataka did not. This triggered clashes amongst the southern states, leading to the formation of cwdt in 1990 to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, the centre, a mediator in the water wrangle, has given the states the option to appeal against the verdict within three months.

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