Cauvery waters talk collapse
The talks between the chief ministers of Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu to resolve the Cauvery waters issue broke
down on Sunday. Tamil Nadu decided to refer the issue to the
Cauvery Waters Disputes Tribunal even as Karnataka stuck to its earlier stand to
boycott the tribunal.
Announcing the failure of the talks after a three-hour long
meeting, the fifth in the series, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
M Karunanidhi said the talks could not lead to any agreement on
wider areas and "it was felt it was best to leave it to be settled by the
adjudicatory process in progress in the Cauvery Water Disputes
Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel told reporters at
his hotel that the state would stand by its assembly and cabinet
decisions to boycott the tribunal and report the position to the
prime minister and the Supreme Court under whose decision the talks
Karunanidhi assured farmers that the standing samba and
thaladi crops would be protected until the harvest and declared that
there would be no more talks with Karnataka.
Patel, on the other hand, said his state believed that
bilateral discussions was the best option to resolve the dispute.
"If we were to go to the tribunal why should we waste our time in
bilateral talks?" he asked.
"We will consult legal experts and proceed in the matter,"
Patel said when a reporter asked him about the legality of
boycotting the tribunal.
While Karunanidhi in a prepared statement read out to
reporters did not go into the details of disagreement between
the two states, Patel was forthright in saying the issue
discussed was not so much of water in terms of tmc but
percentage of available water.
He smiled away when asked how much Tamil Nadu wanted and how
much Karnataka was prepared to give.
Patel said he stood by the Supreme Court decision in the matter. The Supreme Court
had asked the two states to hold talks to arrive at an
interim arrangement to save the kuruvai crop in July 1996.
Patel conceded that the five rounds of
talks were held on the premise of the interim award which
stipulated release of 205 tmc of Cauvery water by Karnataka to
Tamil Nadu a year under a given schedule.
The breakdown of talks came as an anti-climax since both
sides had expressed optimism about the talks.
Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka
assembly, demanded that Patel should convene an emergency session
of the state legislature to discuss the failure of the Cauvery water
Kharge said the state government had all along kept the
Opposition parties in the dark during the talks on the
Century-old Cauvery waters dispute remains in limbo