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Cauvery: In draft scheme Centre says dams to be operated by state under guidance of authority

By Deepika

The Union Government on Monday submitted a draft of the Cauvery Management Scheme to the Supreme Court. The scheme is being put in place to implement the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Cauvery Waters case.

Centre submits draft scheme on Cauvery in Supreme Court

As per the scheme which is called the Cauvery Water Management Scheme 2018, an authority with nine members would be constituted. A regulation committee with 9 members would also be formed. The dams would be operated by the states with a guidance authority, the centre also said.

The Centre said that the dams- Banasurasagara in Kerala, Hemavathy, Harangi, Kamini and Krishnarajasagara in Karnataka and Lower Bhavani, Amaravathy and Mettur in Karnataka shall be operated in an integrated manner by the concerned state.

The Centre said that the dams would be operated under the overall guidance of the authority for each ten day period through out the year to meet the seasonal water requirements. The remaining quantity of the surplus water shall be conserved as far as possible and spillage of water shall be reduced to the minimum.

The authority shall maintain an account of cropping pattern, area cropped and area integrated for each party state. The authority shall also maintain an account of domestic and industrial water usage by party state, the Centre also said.

The Centre has asked the Supreme Court to look into the draft and see if it is in conformity with the February 16 order. The court would take up the mater next for hearing on Thursday. The court said that it would not go into the legality of the scheme. We would only observe if the scheme conforms to our order, the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra said.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and Karnataka have all been given copies of the scheme to verify if it conforms to the Supreme Court's February 16, 2018 verdict.

While submitting the draft scheme, the Centre said it faced a dilemma about the nomenclature of the body that will be entrusted the task of supervising the sharing of Cauvery water as per SC's verdict. Centre said it was unsure whether to call the supervising body a Board, Authority or Committee. Attorney General KK Venugopal said the Centre would leave nomenclature to the court.

On May 8, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had asked a Bench led by Chief Justice Misra for 10 days time to add the "finishing touch" to its draft scheme and get the nod of the Union Cabinet.

On May 3, when the matter came up, the Centre failed to meet the deadline of the Supreme Court saying it could not finalise the scheme for Cauvery as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues were busy campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly elections.

Giving its ruling on appeals against the CWDT's final award, the Supreme Court on February 16 directed the Centre to constitute the CMB within six weeks. But the order was not obeyed, leading to Tamil Nadu government preferring a contempt petition against the Union government. Already, Tamil Nadu is disappointed as the court reduced the State's share by 14.5 tmc to 177.25 tmc.

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