Supreme Court questions center over delay in Cauvery Board formation

The Supreme Court today asked the government why it was dragging its heels on the implementation of the court’s order on the sharing of the Cauvery river water.

The court asked the center to file a draft sharing plan by May 3.

The court’s sharp comments come in the context of it missing the March 29 deadline for the formation of a scheme to share the river water between the different states in the south.

The missed deadline had led to the Tamil Nadu filing a contempt petition against the center. The Union government, meanwhile, filed a request to extend the deadline by three months.

The moves come in the context of elections in Karnataka scheduled for May 12.

Karnataka, being an upper riparian state, has more control over the river water, while farmers in Tamil Nadu are awaiting the release of the water for irrigating their crops.

In its hearing today, the Supreme Court did not accept the center’s explanation that it had some doubts about how to implement the scheme.

The court said if it had any doubt, the center should have come to the court for clarification much earlier.

The SC had issued the order in mid February.

Tamil Nadu has seen political temperatures rise over the sensitive issue of river water sharing, with most political parties and farmers’ associations holding protests against the delay in implementing the river water sharing solution.

The Supreme Court had asked the center to constitute a Cauvery water management board and directed Karnataka to supply 177.25 tmc of water from its Billigundlu site to Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu.