Kumaraswamy writes to Modi on Cauvery Authority, raises contentious issues

Kumaraswamy writes to Modi on Cauvery Authority, raises contentious issues
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New Delhi/Bengaluru:Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said on Monday that the state will soon send to the Centre the names of its nominees in the Cauvery Water Management Board (CMB) and the Regulation Authority but it will have to address certain issues first.

Kumaraswamy told reporters in New Delhi that they have to abide by the Supreme Court judgement in the case relating to the sharing of Cauvery waters with Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

However, the Chief Minister’s office in Karnataka released a letter in Bengaluru urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to operate the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and its regulation committee till the issues related to cropping pattern were addressed.

Kumaraswamy, who met Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari in the national capital, said later that the issues related to the Board were among others taken up during the discussions.

“There were two or three technical issues regarding the setting up of the board which had to be sorted out before it starts functioning. I requested Water Resources Ministry to change two-three clauses and it has responded positively,” he said.

He said the state has expressed concerns over issues such as proposed revision of water quantity in the dams by the Board at the interval of 10 days, Board’s directions on water release and to farmers on which crops to cultivate.

“That is impractical. It is not plausible for farmers to implement the directions. These are the issues I raised objections to,” he said.

Earlier, he had reportedly said that Parliament should have discussed the matter and a resolution passed on the issue of setting up the Board.

Karnataka has been opposed to the setting up of the Board and prefers a negotiated solution to the vexed water sharing issue.

Kumaraswamy said his state had already released water to Tamil Nadu before it asked and he would have no problem in releasing Tamil Nadu its full share if the monsoon is good.

On the issue of demand of 50 per cent share from the centre for farm loan-waiver, Kumaraswamy said: “I requested the Prime Minister. But there was no specific assurance.”

In a letter to Modi, released to the media in Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy said the Water Resources Ministry should be asked not to operate the CWMA till the issues related to cropping pattern were addressed.

“I request you to direct the Ministry of Water Resources not to operate the CWMA till issues related to changing the cropping pattern in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu are resolved,” he wrote.

Asserting that there was no emergent situation in Tamil Nadu warranting an urgent meeting of the CWMA, Kumaraswamy urged the Prime Minister to keep the their functions on hold till the contentious issues were resolved.

“Till the issues are resolved and a logical conclusion reached, enforcing the scheme for operating the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal Award be deferred to a later date,” reiterated the letter Kumaraswamy gave to Modi at a meeting in Delhi earlier in the day.

Noting that changes in the agricultural system could not happen overnight, the letter said farmers would take a long time to realise the value of water and to switch over to modern farming practices.

“It is impractical to force a particular cropping pattern on farmers who have a method of operating over the centuries. Attempt to impose restrictions on farmers on the type of crop to be grown or their agricultural practices will result in protests by farmers, leading to law and order problem,” the letter reminded.

As directed by the Supreme Court on May 18, the Centre on June 1 notified the CWMA for implementing the Tribunal Award on sharing of the river water between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in southern India.

The CWMA will implement the 2007 Tribunal award as per the scheme formulated by the Union Water Resources Ministry as directed by the apex court.

IANS