Amid reports that the Narendra Modi government is favorably considering Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s demand to set up the Cauvery management board, former Prime Minister and JD (S) leader HD Deve Gowda met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to oppose the move.
With the assumption of office of the NDA, the Cauvery water dispute is erupting again with an all-party delegation from Karnataka led by chief minister Siddaramaiah will arrive in New Delhi for a meeting with the Prime Minister on June 10.
Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bangalore that the setting up of the board would adversely affect Karnataka’s interests, particularly the supply of drinking water to Bangalore.
In her meeting with the Prime Minister, Jayalalithaa is understood to have pressed for the immediate setting up of the Cauvery Management Board to ensure implementation on the award of the water disputes tribunal on Cauvery water-sharing between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The genesis of this conflict rests in two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras presidency and the princely state of Mysore. The Cauvery river has 44,000 km2 basin area in Tamil Nadu and 32,000 km2 basin area in Karnataka.
Karnataka’s case is that the agreements were skewed heavily in favour of the Madras Presidency and has demanded a renegotiated settlement.
Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, pleads that it has already developed almost 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km2) of land and as a result has come to depend very heavily on the existing pattern of usage.
Any change in this pattern, it says, will adversely affect the livelihood of millions of farmers in the state.