Cauvery Issue: SC Orders Must Be Complied With In TimeTreating the orders of the apex court as reports of commissions and sitting on them is not a done thing. The Supreme Court has not taken kindly to the Centre missing the six-week deadline it had given for framing a scheme for sharing Cauvery waters between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala which included setting up the Cauvery Water Management Board. What is more, the Centre did not even have the courtesy to inform the court why it had not been done within the given time and pray for more time. Although the court has now allowed it time till May 3, this cavalier attitude of the government towards the judiciary is not proper, especially since the issue is snowballing into a huge controversy in Tamil Nadu.
By Sunil Garodia
The Centre is perhaps playing for time as Karnataka is headed for elections. The BJP does not want to antagonize the people of Karnataka, more so since the earlier Supreme Court order had given more water to Bangalore after taking into account its growing needs. But such things cannot be kept pending. Further, since the Supreme Court in involved, the Centre has a golden opportunity to settle the issue without drawing too many adverse charges. It can always say that it was a judicial decision it was respecting. In any case, the issue has been hanging fire for a long time and needs immediate resolution.
The people of Tamil Nadu are aggrieved that their share has been reduced. The Centre has to go into the details with experts and all stakeholders to devise a scheme for fair distribution, form the Board and a monitoring authority to ensure monthly releases. No state should suffer nor should any state get more water just because a major part of the river passes through it. There needs to be a balance between genuine need and availability. Already there are murmurs that Bangalore wastes too much water and hence instead of more water for the city, there should be better management of existing resources including stopping wastage, rain water harvesting and better maintenance of its sprawling lakes. The Centre must apply its mind on all issues, talk with all stakeholders and experts and come up with a scheme before May 3. It may not please all, but if it is done in consultation with everyone and is fair, maybe the court will put its stamp of approval.