Cauvery finally breaks through dam of opposing views
A breakthrough was finally achieved on Friday on the
contentious Cauvery water issue at the end of the third round of
talks between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
and the chief ministers of the four riparian states.
A broad agreement has emerged on removing
the barriers for implementing the seven-year-old interim award of the river water
Chief Ministers J H Patel (Karnataka), M Karunanidhi
(Tamil Nadu), E K Nayanar (Kerala), and Janakiraman
(Pondicherry) agreed in principle to the
Centre's scheme for implementing the interim award, and
the setting up of an authority
and a monitoring committee to supervise the
release of 205 TMC of water by Karnataka to Tamil
Nadu, as recommended by the
tribunal way back in June 1990.
The chief ministers, however, differed about the
nature, role and
functions of the monitoring committee. The Karnataka government said the committee should only assist the
authority, while Tamil Nadu and
Pondicherry did not accept this.
The Kerala government, for its part,
reserved its view, saying it would have to
study the implications of
both sides before taking a stand.
The Centre has decided to constitute a drafting committee headed
by the cabinet secretary which will look into
the powers, duties, functions and the role of the monitoring
committee. The committee, which is meeting in Delhi on Friday
evening, will have designated officers of the Central government and the state governments concerned.
The differences between the states had narrowed
down considerably during the nine-hour talks.
''A scheme is now in place and
the nuts and bolts of its implementation
are being discussed,'' an official spokesman said.
Karunanidhi said he was happy
that an amicable settlement has been
reached. His Karnataka counterpart added
that the matter should not be allowed to linger any longer.
Friday's agreement assumes significance in
the wake of the
Supreme Court order last month directing the Centre to finalise
the scheme before August 12. The court had
made it clear that it would not brook any further delay. (The Centre had sought as many as nine
the last one year.)
During their interaction with the media after the
meeting, both Karunanidhi and Patel skirted contentious
issues like penal provisions in the original draft scheme, including
the possible takeover of reservoirs in
Karnataka by the Centre if it failed to
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