Pennaiyar River Water Dispute: SC Orders Inter-State Tribunal To Be Set Up In Three Months
The order to constitute the tribunal comes after the negotiation committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2020 failed to resolve the dispute.
A Supreme Court bench comprising of justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar ordered the Centre to constitute an inter-state river water disputes tribunal within three months to settle the Pennaiyar River (also known as Ponnaiyar River) water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The Centre's plea for grant of six-months time on procedural grounds was rejected by the court.
Tamil Nadu had filed a plea before the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, because it felt that the dam being built by the Karnataka government on the Markandeya river, (a tributary of the Pennaiyar river) would reduce the river flow and thus adversely affect the irrigation and drinking water needs of lakhs of people in the districts of Krishnagiri, Dharamapuri, Thiruvannamalai, Villupuram and Cuddalore.
In response, Karnataka had said that there was no reason for Tamil Nadu to fear as the Markandeya Dam is being built only for the purpose of supplying drinking water to the towns of Kolar, Bangarpet, Malur and 45 villages en route. It added that, as it is only a drinking water project, it need not consult the state of Tamil Nadu.
However, Tamil Nadu contends that according to an agreement between the erstwhile Mysore State and Madras State, signed in 1892, Karnataka cannot construct any projects in the area.
The order to constitute an inter-state river water disputes tribunal comes after the negotiation committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2020 failed to resolve the dispute.
The Pennaiyar River is the second longest river in Tamil Nadu after the Kaveri. It originates in the Nandi Hills of Chikkaballapur district in Karnataka. It is highly polluted by the sewage entering from Bengaluru city and industries located in the Bengaluru-Hosur belt.
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