Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami will lead a delegation of farmers and all parties to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to constitute the Cauvery Management Board within six weeks, as directed by the Supreme Court (SC).
The decision to despatch the delegation was taken at a meeting of all political parties and farmers’ associations on Thursday—a week after the apex court’s verdict on the longstanding Cauvery water dispute.
Apart from urging the centre to constitute the management board, the meeting also decided to consult legal experts to file a review petition.
On 16 February, the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water to Tamil Nadu. This reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water by 14.75tmcft from the 192tmcft allocated by a tribunal in 2007.
A day after the verdict, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said his government would oppose the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
Palaniswami told the meeting: “Though we might have many differences, I urge all the parties to work together to establish the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu."
He added that suggestions tabled in the meeting would be referred to “legal experts before initiating appropriate action."
During the full-day meeting, opposition leader and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin urged Palaniswami to exert pressure on the centre to set up a Cauvery Management Board and said the government should act with “utmost care" on the issue. He said the government should consult with other parties before taking legal actions on the SC verdict. “Our share gets reduced every time we seek justice and it is not acceptable. We should not give any room for that."
All political parties and farmers’ representatives extended support to the state government in establishing the rights of Tamil Nadu in the dispute.
The meeting, chaired by Palaniswami, saw 30 political parties and 14 farmers’ associations/representatives come together. A similar all-party meeting on the issue took place in 2007 during the DMK regime under then chief minister M. Karunanidhi.
Thursday’s meeting followed a move by the DMK earlier this week to host an all-party meet on the grounds, it said, that the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government was ignoring its demands in the wake of the apex court’s verdict.
On Monday, a day after the DMK announcement, the government said, “The Tamil Nadu government will immediately take steps after consulting and getting the views of leaders of all the parties."
The DMK said it would participate in the meeting and cancelled the one it had convened.