NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the interstate water disputes (amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill, which seeks to reform the adjudication of recurrent disputes in water-sharing between States by forming a single national tribunal, has been opposed by politicians and experts from Tamil Nadu.
Presenting the Bill, water minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said existing tribunals, constituted for resolution of water disputes, had failed to resolve conflicts. He pointed out that a tribunal could not resolve an interstate dispute for 33 years. “Except one or two tribunals, others did not meet regularly,” Shekawat said.
The bench will be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge and will have different benches, which would be wound up once a particular dispute it’s handling is resolved. The tribunal is mandated to deliver final award within two years, and whenever an order is passed, the verdict should be automatically notified.
“The danger Tamil Nadu will face because of this Bill is that Karnataka will revive the Cauvery dispute saying it was not satisfied with the SC verdict and file a petition before this tribunal and the hearing hearing in the case can go on for many more years. Until the petition is disposed, Karnataka will not release water to Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery Authority will remain only on paper,” says A Veerappan, president of PWD engineers association.