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|July 20, 1998||
Karnataka MPs warn of law & order problems if Centre takes TN line in Cauvery dispute
Imposition of any river valley authority for the Cauvery, without fully exploring the possibility of a settlement of the dispute through consultations, is bound to create 'serious problems' besides a law and order situation in the basin.
So says a seven-page memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by an all-party parliamentary delegation from Karnataka led by former chief minister S R Bommai. The delegation took strong exception to the Centre preparing a draft scheme instead of sorting out the differences through negotiations.
The memorandum said the solution to this problem does not lie in creation of a mechanism for a regulatory authority. The order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in June 1991 was 'vague, uncertain, impracticable and hence unimplementable. ''No scheme can be drawn up without setting right the uncertainties and vagueness in the order,'' it pointed out.
Karnataka MPs said the draft scheme was faulty and did not take note of the Tribunal's further orders and had no provisions for any future orders. The Tribunal itself had stated in its order of April 3, 1992, that the parties were free to approach it in the event of distress for 'appropriate orders'.
The draft scheme had imposed restrictions on Karnataka on development of irrigation facilities which were not proposed by the Tribunal itself. The provisions in the scheme like field organisations, directions to oversee the operation of the gates and monitoring irrigation development in the state and empowering the authority to take over regulation of the structures were blatant violation and clear infringement of the rights of the state, they said.
The MPs said the Supreme Court order's main thrust was to enable the Centre to resolve the dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, arising from the Tribunal's interim order, through a process of consultations. Tamil Nadu, they said, needlessly continued its 'litigant approach' even though it had been receiving more than the stipulated quantity of water since 1991.
The Tribunal's interim order, especially the weekly and monthly schedule, was inequitable and implementation had caused hardship to the people of Karnataka and the order was widely resented by them, the memorandum said.
Karnataka, the MPs said, had been urging for a water policy to guide the Tribunal in adjudication. ''We are happy to note that the government under your (Vajpayee's) leadership had recognised the need for guidelines for sharing the waters of inter-state rivers for incorporating in the national water policy which had been included in the national agenda for governance,'' they said.
The Supreme Court order of April 9, 1997, they said, offered the prime minister a good opportunity to resolve the issue amicably and should be utilised to find a solution to the entire dispute through negotiations. Solutions thus evolved would go a long way in restoring amity among the peoples of basin states, the MPs added.
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