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Cauvery tribunal award: After 6 years, Tamil Nadu has its way

Last updated on: February 20, 2013 16:47 IST

After six years, the final award of the Cauvery Waters Dispute Tribunal was notified on Wednesday.

The move came after the Supreme Court rapped the Centre for delaying the decision. The apex court had set February 20 as the deadline to issue the notification.

The notification was issued in Tuesday's date.

The Tribunal, comprising Chairman Justice N P Singh and members N S Rao and Sudhir Narain, in a unanimous award in February, 2007 had determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 thousand million cubic feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site.

The proceedings of the Tribunal, set up in June, 1990, went on for more than 16 years.

In what was then described as a balancing act, the Tribunal gave Tamil Nadu 419 TMC of water (as against the demand of 562 TMC); Karnataka 270 TMC (as against its demand of 465 TMC); Kerala 30 TMC and Puducherry 7 TMC.

For environmental protection, it had reserved 10 TMC.

The Tribunal's award will come into effect within 90 days of its notification by the Centre. As per the law, the award comes into being after being notified by the Centre through its publication in a gazette.

After the issuance of the notification, institutions like the Cauvery River Authority chaired by the prime minister and the CMC will cease to exist.

New organisations like the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee will be constituted, which will have representatives from all the co-basin states, experts in hydrology and agriculture.

They will be headed by an officer of the central government and will be under the control of the Centre.

While Tamil Nadu had been demanding an early notification, Karnataka was opposed to it saying till the times cases filed by it in the Supreme Court are settled, the notification should be kept in abeyance.

Earlier, the Centre had set itself a deadline of December 31, 2012 to notify the Cauvery award.

In a meeting of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee on December 7 last year, then secretary of water resources Dhruv Vijai Singh had told representatives of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pudducherry that the Centre would bring out the notification by end of February.

But with a section in the law ministry suggesting that pending court cases could prove to be a hindrance in notifying the February 2007 award, the water resources ministry decided to hold fresh consultations on the legal implications.

The matter also came up before the Congress core group amid indications that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would hold more consultations before taking a call.

Interestingly, the notification mentions the February 20 deadline set by the Supreme Court in notifying the award.

"Since more than five years have elapsed, we direct the central government to publish in official gazette the final decision given by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal dated February 5, 2007 as early as may be possible and in no case later than February 20, 2013," the notification said while quoting the SC ruling of February 4.

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