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Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court seeking removal of Cauvery Management Authority head

In the petition, Tamil Nadu sought the removal of Hussain as the interim chairman of CMA and pleaded for a direction to the Centre to appoint a regular chairman to the statutory body, which manages and regulates the storage and apportionment of Cauvery water among the basin states.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2018 07:44 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Cauvery,Cauvery dispute,Cauvery Management Authority
Tamil Nadu has cited the Supreme Court verdict in the Cauvery dispute which states that Karnataka could not impound water by constructing any dam without the consent of the lower riparian state.(PTI File Photo)

The Tamil Nadu government has moved Supreme Court seeking removal of Central Water Commission (CWC) chairman Masood Hussain as the head of Cauvery Management Authority (CMA), citing conflict of interest. It also sought a direction to the Centre to appoint a full-time independent Chairman to the CMA.

This comes in the wake of the CWC granting permission to Karnataka to proceed with the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the 66 TMC Mekedatu reservoir project across river Cauvery, upstream of Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu. Opposing the project as being detrimental to the interests of farmers in the delta region, the Tamil Nadu Assembly has passed a unanimous resolution, demanding the withdrawal of permission given to Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu has cited the apex court verdict in the Cauvery dispute which states that Karnataka could not impound water by constructing any dam without the consent of lower riparian state.

In the petition, Tamil Nadu sought the removal of Hussain as the interim chairman of CMA and pleaded for a direction to the Centre to appoint a regular chairman to the statutory body, which manages and regulates the storage and apportionment of Cauvery water among the basin states.

“There is every likelihood of conflict of interests arising in the discharge of the dual positions held by Hussain,” the petition contended and accused him of being partial to Karnataka. To substantiate this, the petition cited the Project Appraisal Directorate (South) of the CWC having entertained the feasibility report submitted by Karnataka and then granting the go-ahead for preparation of the DPR for Mekedatu project. This after turning down Tamil Nadu’s objections at the last CMA meeting, it pointed out.

Even six months after its constitution, the CMA is yet to have a full-time independent chairman and other members, jettisoning the objective with which it was established, the petition said.

The Centre approving Karnataka’s demand on the Mekedatu project is seen by the Opposition as a move to bolster the electoral prospects of the BJP in the neighbouring state as it has no foothold in Tamil Nadu. This has been described as a betrayal to Tamil Nadu farmers and the DMK-led secular alliance has staged a massive demonstration in Trichy.

Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the CWC to immediately withdraw the permission given to Karnataka for the DPR as the move had created anguish and anxiety among the people of Tamil Nadu.

First Published: Dec 08, 2018 23:04 IST