Centre submits draft Cauvery management scheme: Tamil Nadu leaders hope for 'favourable verdict' on 16 May

Salem/Chennai: After the Centre submitted the draft Cauvery management scheme in the Supreme Court on Monday, the Tamil Nadu government expressed hope that the court will give a favourable verdict on 16 May on the inter-state river dispute.

The Opposition DMK reiterated its demand for setting up of an empowered Cauvery Management Board (CMB) to implement the court order on the river-water sharing between the stakeholders — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

In Salem, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswamy pointed out that the Centre submitted the draft Cauvery management scheme following a directive from the top court.

"I hope there will be a good verdict on 16 May," he told reporters, apparently referring to the Supreme Court saying on Monday that it would consider and approve the scheme that day.

 Centre submits draft Cauvery management scheme: Tamil Nadu leaders hope for favourable verdict on 16 May

Representational image. AFP

He said Tamil Nadu's demand was that the CMB and Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee should be set up, and recalled the AIADMK's legal struggle on this issue.

Palaniswamy's deputy O Panneerselvam said former chief ministers MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa had struggled to secure Tamil Nadu's interests on the complex issue.

"Much like they took forward so many struggles to ensure the livelihood rights (of Tamil Nadu on Cauvery), this (AIADMK) government will also do the same," he told reporters in Madurai.

Earlier on Monday, the Centre submitted to the apex court the draft Cauvery management scheme, to ensure smooth distribution of water between the states concerned, with the dispute having turned a key point of contention between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for years.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, took on record the draft scheme submitted by the Union water resource secretary and said it would peruse it.

"We need to examine whether the said scheme is in consonance with our judgement," the bench said, adding it would consider and approve the scheme on 16 May.

The top court on 8 May had summoned the secretary to appear before it on Monday with the draft scheme and warned the Centre it was in "sheer contempt" of the 16 February verdict by not framing the Cauvery management scheme on river water sharing between the four southern riparian states till now.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and DMK working president MK Stalin said "expectations have gone up" in the state when the Centre would fully implement the draft management scheme.

Reiterating his party's stand on the Constitution of the CMB, he urged the ruling AIADMK to convene a meeting of all political parties and farmers' unions tomorrow to discuss the matter.

"People of Tamil Nadu and farmers in the (Cauvery) delta region expect the setting up of an empowered CMB and safeguard the state's rights," he said in a statement and urged the state government to put forth effective arguments on 16 May to win its case.

Tamil Nadu should insist that the Centre set up the CMB, he added.

MDMK founder Vaiko said the "question mark that remains is" whether any new panel would be an empowered one.

MNM president and actor Kamal Haasan again claimed that politics was being played on the Cauvery issue and called for unity among farmers and people of the state on the matter.

He also proposed to have a possible meeting with the next Karnataka chief minister on the issue and hoped for some solution since the head of that state "may be from any party, but he is also human."

The apex court on 16 February asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance with its judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute.

It had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it would not extend the time for this on any grounds.

The top court had then raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a "higher pedestal".

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Updated Date: May 14, 2018 18:36:12 IST