Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said that he wanted the constitution of Cauvery Water Management Authority to be discussed in Parliament to address “a couple of technical lacunae” in the Supreme Court order.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Mr. Kumaraswamy said while he would send names for State nominees on the boards, the government’s legal advisers would also be looking into whether or not to file a review petition.
“Till then, we want the Centre to assure us that the issue of the management authority is put before both Houses of Parliament,” he said. Mr. Kumaraswamy said that Karnataka had a problem with some technical issues related to the Supreme Court order on the terms and references of the management authority. “For example, the authority will, every 10 days, review the water levels at our reservoirs and also advise farmers on cropping patterns. This, in my view, is not practical and also raises questions on the issue of federalism, as water is a State subject,” he said.
Mr. Modi, he said, had shown a positive attitude to the suggestions, but hasn’t committed. “Mr. Modi recalled that he had spoken to my father (former Prime Minister Deve Gowda) six months ago on the issue and said that Mr. Gowda had an encyclopaedic knowledge of irrigation issues,” he added.
“Upper riparian States like Karnataka have been given instructions on when and how much water to release to a lower riparian State like Tamil Nadu. However, when their dams are full owing to good monsoon, that water is allowed to run off into the sea. Something should be done on that issue too,” he said.
He said he asked Mr. Modi to also consider helping Karnataka to offer a farm loan waiver. “When the Centre is floating bonds for a larger bank recapitalisation programme, a part of it should be set aside for farm loan write offs,” he said.