New Delhi/ Bengaluru: In a bid to find permanent solution to the Cauvery river water dispute, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to constitute a Cauvery Management Board (CMB), an expert resolution body, within four weeks.
The court also directed Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu daily between 21 and 27 September.
A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit agreed that pro-tem measures by the court in issues of such seriousness are not desirable.
The CMB was conceived by the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 2007 which ordered Karnataka to release 172tmc of water in a ‘normal’ year to Tamil Nadu. The Centre notified the award in 2013, but did not constitute CMB.
The decision comes amid protests from farmer and pro-Kannada groups after the Supervisory Committee, on Monday, directed Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water for 10 days (21-30 September) to its neighbouring state.
Already reeling from acute drinking water shortage, Karnataka, it seems, has foiled yet another attempt to convince the apex court on the grave ground reality in the state.
The 19 September direction by the Supervisory Committee on Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal comes after two unfavourable SC directions on 5 and 12 September, forcing many in the state including opposition parties to question the state’s legal strategy headed by noted jurist Fali.S.Nariman.
Nariman, who has represented Karnataka for over three decades in the Cauvery water dispute, was also the advocate for J.Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case—which many see as a conflict of interest.
On 5 September, the SC had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day till 16 September. This order was revised on 12 September to 12,000 cusecs of water per day till Tuesday.
Both verdicts led to widespread protests.
On 12 September, Bengaluru and other parts of the state witnessed rioting and arson after a video of a van driver from Karnataka being beaten up by a pro-Tamil fringe group in Rameshwaram went viral.
In the violence that lasted about six hours on Monday, around 100 Tamil Nadu registered vehicles were torched and at least two persons were dead.
Also read: India’s water wars: Cauvery is not the end
Chief minister Siddaramaiah said he has been trying to get a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek the latter’s intervention to resolve the impasse.
The prime minister is yet to respond. But as many as two Union ministers and state Bharatiya Janata Party president B.S. Yeddyurappa have ruled out Modi’s intervention.
Prohibitory orders were put in place on Monday evening in several parts of the state-particularly in Mandya and Bengaluru.
Karnataka police have dismissed any rumours of a Bandh in Bengaluru on Tuesday and beefed up security across the state.
The police have also issued an advisory to electronic media not to air inflammatory visuals and are keeping tab on videos posted on social media.