Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy has welcomed the constitution of a Cauvery Water Management Authority (CMA) by the Centre and hailed it as a "grand victory for the "Amma (Jayalalithaa) government" and the state's farmers.
"This is a grand victory for the Amma government and Tamil Nadu's farmers," Palaniswami said in a statement on Friday adding the rights of Tamil Nadu and farmers' livelihood "have been retrieved."
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This notification came after Supreme Court disposed all the applications of Cauvery dispute and approved the CMA. The court has ordered the centre to notify the court in the official gazette.
The authority would compromise a Chairman, a secretary and 8 other members (of which two will be permanent and two will be part-timers while the other four will be member from respective states). The Chairman would be a senior and eminent engineer with specialisation in Water Resource Management.
Palaniswami expressed joy and recalled the various efforts of the ruling AIADMK on the Cauvery dispute, including the late party supremo J. Jayalalithaa going on a fast in the 1990s on the issue.
The CMA had been set up following the AIADMK government's sustained efforts and legal battles, he added.
AIADMK leaders had observed a fast while opposition parties in the state staged protests in April demanding constitution of the CMA. Acting on the Supreme Court's direction, the Centre has constituted the CMA to address the dispute over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry and issued a gazette notification.
Jayalalithaa is fondly addressed as Amma by her supporters. Recalling the time-line of the Cauvery dispute, he also detailed the latest legal battle for water sharing, with the Supreme Court giving its final verdict in February this year.
The court had asked the Centre to formulate a scheme for implementation of its verdict, which led to the latter proposing to set up the present authority, he pointed out. On his directions, Tamil Nadu government's counsel had in the apex court strongly argued for setting up an empowered Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee, he noted.
Palaniswami said he had written to Prime minister Narendra Modi on May 26 seeking that Cauvery Water Management Authority and CWRC be notified in the central gazette before the onset of the monsoon.
On February 16, the apex court had directed the government to form the CMA within six weeks in a verdict that marginally increased Karnataka's share of Cauvery water, reduced the allocation for Tamil Nadu and sought to settle the protracted water dispute between the two southern states.
In the gazette notification, the Ministry of Water Resources said it has framed a scheme constituting the CMA and the CWRC to give effect to the decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court order.
The Cauvery water issue between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka dates to the British Raj and it became a severe problem in 1956 after the re-organisation of the states.
(With inputs from PTI)