Thursday, 15 September 2016

Cauvery (Kaveri) Water Dispute

The Cauvery basin covers a large expanse of land including major chunks in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also smaller areas in Kerala and Puducherry. Initially, the dispute was between Karnataka and TN but later Kerala and Puducherry also entered the fray.  

The issue dates back to 1892 when an agreement was filed between Madras Presidency and Mysore for arbitration but led to a fresh set of disputes. Later, attempts were renewed to arbitrate between the two states under the supervision of Government of India and the second agreement was signed in 1924. 

However, with the independence of India and the 1956 reorganisation of states along linguistic lines, fresh problems cropped up. In the 1960s, with the 50-year period since the last binding law soon ending in 1974, negotiations started among the concerned parties.  

In the 1970s, the Cauvery Fact Finding Committee submitted a report in 1973, resulting in the 1974 draft agreement and the creation of Cauvery Valley Authority, but it was not ratified.In 1986, a farmers’ association from Tamil Nadu knocked on Supreme Court’s door demanding constitution of a tribunal for full and final settlement of the issue. Based on Supreme Court order The Cauvery Waters Tribunal was constituted on June, 2, 1990.

After 16 years of hearing and an interim order, the Tribunal announced its final order in 2007 allocating:
  • Tamil Nadu – 419 billion cubic feet
  • Karnataka – 270 billion cubic feet
  •  Kerala – 30 billion cubic feet
  • Puducherry – 7 billion cubic feet.  
None of the states were happy with the verdict and appeals continued, and the recent SC order asking Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu in a drought year has meant all-out ruckus in the two states.


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