The Centre today (14 May) submitted the draft for the Cauvery river water sharing scheme to the Supreme Court of India, reports The Hindu. The Centre had deferred the submission keeping the Karnataka elections in mind.
Union Water Resources Secretary U P Singh personally presented the draft to the court after he had been summoned at the last hearing on 8 May. The bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that the court would not get into the the propriety or the legality of the scheme in order to avoid a second round of litigation between the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the union territory of Puducherry.
The Centre has said that the agency set up could be a ‘board, committee or authority’ and would be headquartered in Bengaluru. Riparian states would be given the option to either debate the draft or the court could direct them to do so. Once this is done, the Centre would finalise it under Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act.
The chairman of the agency would have a tenure of five years or till the age of 65 and would either be a senior eminent engineer with experience or a senior officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). It would have four part time members the states who would be the respective administrative secretaries in their water resources department.
Reservoirs would be opened up in an ‘integrated manner’ under the agency’s guidance with the water levels being gauged every June. It would monitor the storage, apportionment, regulation and control of the river’s waters.
The administrative costs of the agency would be shared between the four states – Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would fork out 40 per cent each, Kerala 15 per cent and Puducherry 5 per cent.
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