The Centre on Wednesday notified the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, ending a six-year-long wait.
The move came after the Supreme Court rapped the Centre for delaying the decision and had set February 20 as the deadline to issue notification, which was issued in Tuesday’s date.
The Tribunal, comprising chairman Justice N P Singh and members N S Rao and Sudhir Narain, in a unanimous award in February 2007, had determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 tmc ft at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site.
The proceedings of the Tribunal, set up in June 1990, went on for more than 16 years. The Tribunal’s award will come into effect within 90 days of its notification by the Centre. As per law, the award comes into being after being notified by the Centre through its publication in a gazette.
After the issuance of the notification, institutions like the Cauvery River Authority chaired by the Prime Minister and the Cauvery Monitoring Committee will cease to exist. New organisations like the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee will be constituted, which will have representatives from all the co-basin states, experts in hydrology and agriculture. They will be headed by an officer of the Central Government.
While Tamil Nadu had been demanding an early notification, Karnataka was opposed to it saying till the times cases filed by it in the Supreme Court are settled, the notification should be kept in abeyance.
Terming the notification as a “great victory for me and my government”, particularly the delta farmers, Jayalalithaa said, “Since the final award has been notified, it becomes binding on Karnataka to release water.”
“....hereafter Karnataka cannot refuse to obey the order of the tribunal”, the AIADMK supremo said, adding Tamil Nadu was “literally at the mercy of Karnataka all these years”.
The notification, however, sparked protests in Karnataka with members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike staging demonstrations in Mysore, Mandya and Bangalore. Shettar said there is no law to say that the CMB has to be constituted. “It (clearance for the proposed Board) has to come before Parliament and there has to be discussions. Under law, there is room for amendment,” he added.