CHENNAI: The six-week deadline set by the Supreme Court for forming the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) came to an end on Thursday even as farmers and the public in Tamil Nadu were agitated over the Centre’s failure to honour the apex court’s verdict. Significantly, the Centre maintained a stoic silence till the last moment while speculations quoting officials from the Union Water Resources Ministry were doing the rounds.
Now the ball is in the Supreme Court now. Whether the SC will censure the Centre for its unreasonable delay in forming the Cauvery Management Board will be known in the coming days.Though Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami chaired a high-level meeting at the secretariat which lasted for more than one hour discussing the next course of action on the issue, there was no official statement on the decision taken at the meeting. The State government has been saying “the cause of action” would occur only when the deadline comes to an end.
Sources said that as decided earlier, Thursday’s meeting also reiterated that the State government should file a contempt petition against the Centre for failing to honour the SC verdict of February 16. The contempt petition has been prepared and the government is waiting to take note of the last-minute developments that may occur in New Delhi in this regard. The petition will be filed on March 31 (Saturday). PWD secretary SK Prabhakar and Cauvery Technical Cell Chairman R Subramanian are reaching Delhi on Friday evening.
Asked what could be the next course of action of the AIADMK on this issue, party spokesperson G Samarasan told Express, “We expected that it would be a ‘sukha prasavam’ (normal delivery). Now, the Centre has made it a Caesarean case. We will not give up on the Cauvery Management Board. Other States in the country will definitely start thinking whether the same thing will happen to them in future. In a way, if the SC order is not honoured in this issue which has been dragging on for decades, it will raise a big question mark over the unity of the nation.”
In New Delhi, PR Pandian, president, All Farmers Associations’ Coordination Committee and around 60 farmers, who have been staging a hunger strike for the past four days, were arrested when they attempted to take out a march towards the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, condemning the Centre’s failure to form the Cauvery Management Board. Later, they were released.In Tamil Nadu, farmers staged agitations at many places in Delta districts protesting the Centre’s failure to form the CMB.
Meanwhile, AIADMK MPs - G Hari, Arunmozhithevan, Arunmohzithevan, P Kumar and Anwar Razza - have announced that they are ready to resign as members of Parliament if the AIADMK leadership directs them to do so. On Wednesday, Kalasapakkam MLA V Panneerselvam said that he would resign as a member of State Assembly if the CMB was not formed in time.
Actor Rajinikanth said, “Formation of the Cauvery Management Board alone can be an acceptable solution to the Cauvery dispute. I sincerely hope justice will prevail.”Makkal Needhi Maiyam founder and actor Kamal Haasan appealed to the Prime Minister to form the Cauvery Management Board immediately. He also said the Centre’s reported decision to seek clarification on the term ‘scheme’ was only a delaying tactic.
Congress planning one-day bandh
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president S Thirunavukkarasar on Thursday said his party is planning to call for a one-day bandh in the State to register its strong protest against the Centre’s failure to implement the Supreme Court verdict on the Cauvery dispute. He said, “Congress party likes to observe a one-day bandh in order to express the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu on the betrayal committed by the Centre and the incompetency of the State government on the issue of constituting the Cauvery Management Board