Locked in a row with Karnataka over sharing of Cauvery waters, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday requested the Centre to immediately appoint a new Chairman of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the chief minister said,"...the resignation of Justice NP Singh as Chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal has caused deep concern and anxiety in the minds of the people of Tamil Nadu".
Noting that the Tribunal cannot function without the Chairman as required under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, she said, "as per Section 5A of the said Act, the proceedings of the Tribunal can only be continued if a person is nominated as the Chairman of the Tribunal".
Tamil Nadu had filed a civil miscellaneous petition on March 16 before the Tribunal to take up the pending applications filed by the party States and the Central government under Section 5(3) of the said Act and dispose of the same at the earliest, she said.
"The Tribunal on March 23 had also issued notice about listing of this Civil Miscellaneous Petition before the Tribunal on April 17," Jayalalithaa said, adding that the petition was not taken up due to the resignation of Singh.
"In these circumstances, I seek your personal intervention to appoint a new Chairman for the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal immediately," Jayalalithaa said.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are locked in decades-long dispute on sharing Cauvery waters. The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, set up by the Centre, had in 2007 given its final award, allocating 419 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu and 270 tmcft to Karnataka annually.
However, Karnataka has challenged the award in the Supreme Court, alleging it gave a raw deal to the state overlooking its requirements and rights.
NP Singh had resigned from his post last week, citing ill health.