Cauvery Water dispute: SC to declare verdict within four weeks

Image Courtesy: Sruthisagar Yamunan
Supreme Court will be giving out its verdict on 22-year-old Cauvery river dispute within four weeks.

New Delhi, January 09: The Supreme Court has decided to declare its verdict on the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka within four weeks. The water-sharing row had snowballed into a massive problem resulting in protests and subsequent violence in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu in September 2016.

A three-judge bench of the apex court has reserved its verdict on appeals filed by Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu against the 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing of the river water.

There has been enough confusion on the row for over two decades, said the Top court. The court has also said that any forum is allowed to discuss further on the matter after the verdict on this issue is delivered after four-weeks. The three judges involved in passing the judgement are Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The court remarked the following during the hearing of the plea filed in 2016 by a citizens’ group called Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) led by philanthropist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. He sought its intervention for the supply of drinking water to residents of Bengaluru and surrounding districts.

There has been an acute shortage of drinking water in Bengaluru and other districts of South Karnataka. Bengaluru city alone requires more than 19 TMC of water and the annual drinking water requirement of districts near the Cauvery basin including Bengaluru is around 26 TMC.

The BPAC has appealed to the court that citizens of Bengaluru need adequate drinking water and their right to life needed to be protected by the top court.

 

Sources: The Times of IndiaScroll.in

Water wars and their many scars

The Supreme Court, on September 5, ordered the Karnataka government to increase the amount of water it releases to its neighbor Tamil Nadu from the river Cauvery for 10 consecutive days. The SC’s recent order has sparked off a series of protests in Karnataka, with IT offices and schools shutting down in protest.

The Cauvery dispute, as it has been popularly termed, has been a long-standing issue of contention between the two states. However, this isn’t the only dispute in the country relating to water woes. Raging arguments and debates are common across the span of the country when it comes to ownership over rivers. Here’s a look at the other river disputes in the country:

Satluj-Yamuna Link

Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana entered an agreement in 1981 to share the waters of Ravi, Beas and Satluj. Prior to the agreement, on Harayana’s suggestion, a Satluj-Yamuna link canal was decided to be built on Satluj, with Haryana completing its part of the canal by 1980. Punjab agreed to complete their part of the canal within a span of two years.

However in 1990, Punjab stopped the construction of the link canal, which by then was 90% finished. Ever since, the State has received constant directions from various authorities to complete work on the canal, but to no avail.

On March 14, 2016, the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed a resolution- the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016 to return 3,928 acres of acquired land for the proposed project.

Krishna River

The waters of the river Krishna are shared between Maharashtra, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. While Karnataka initially received a lion’s share of the water arising from the river, the current dispute lies in the division between Telengana and Andhra Pradehs’s share, with the former being recently carved out of the state in 2014. Both the states share Andhra Pradesh’s waters at present.

In 2015, the Telengana government sought fresh allocation of the disputed waters before the Supreme Court. This move was however, protested by Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Mullaiperiyar Dam

Courting yet another controversy with regards to water is the Tamil Nadu government’s long-term tryst with the Kerala government over the Mullaiperiyar dam built over the Periyar River. Though the dam belongs to Kerala, a 999-year lease agreement was signed by the British, King of Travancore and Madras Presidency, allowing Tamil Nadu to operate the dam and complete ownership of water from the river.

The two states were at loggerheads regarding the structure of the dam. While multiple studies conducted by the Kerala government indicated that the dam should not be raised above 136 ft owing to its weak structure, the Tamil Nadu government was adamant on raising the height of the dam to 142 ft.

In May 2014, a 5-member committee appointed by the Supreme Court deemed the dam to be fit enough for a raise in height level to the proposed 142 ft. However, Kerala government opposed the move, demanding the dam either be rebuilt or maintain the same height. The Kerala government has currently sought the Centre’s intervention over building a new dam on the Periyar River.

Apart from disputes within the country over water, India has waged arguments over rivers flowing across borders as well. The Teesta River flowing across the India-Bangladesh border is one such case. The dispute surrounding this river is over water-sharing during the lean season that stretches between October 1 and April 30. At present, the countries have reached a 40-40 agreement, where the remaining 20 per cent is reserved to preserve environmental flow of the river.

Yet another long-drawn river dispute is over the Brahmaputra River flowing through China and India. While China has around five dams across the river at various points, the current issue revolves around India’s demand to build a dam in Siang, Arunachal Pradesh to generate 54 GW of power. The Indian government also has plans to generate over 57,000 MW of hydroelectric power via various projects across the river.