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Kaveri River water dispute

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The Kaveri flows in southern Karnataka and then to Tamil Nadu. The sharing of waters of the Kaveri has been the source of a serious conflict between the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The genesis of this conflict, rests in two controversial agreementsone signed in 1892 and another in 1924between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Princely State of Mysore. The 802 kilometres (498 mi) Kaveri river [1] has 32,000 km2 basin area in Karnataka and 44,000 km2 basin area in Tamil Nadu. The state of Karnataka contends that it does not receive its due share of water from the river as does Tamil Nadu. Karnataka claims that these agreements were skewed heavily in favour of the Madras Presidency, and has demanded a renegotiated settlement based on "equitable sharing of the waters". 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. Decades of negotiations between the parties bore no fruit. The Government of India then constituted a tribunal in 1990 to look into the matter. After hearing arguments of all the parties involved for the next 16 years, the tribunal delivered its final verdict on 5 February 2007. In its verdict, the tribunal allocated 419 billion ft (12 km) of water annually to Tamil Nadu and 270 billion ft (7.6 km) to Karnataka; 30 billion ft (0.8 km) of Kaveri river water to Kerala and 7 billion ft (0.2 km) to Puducherry. The dispute

however, appears not to have concluded, as all four states deciding to file review petitions seeking clarifications and possible renegotiation of the order.

Karnataka Basin Area (in km)[2] 34,273 (42%) 21,870 (63.8%)

Drought area in the basin (in km) [3] Contribution of state (in 252 billion ft according to Ktaka) 425 (53.7%) (31.8%) [4] Contribution of state (in billion ft according to TN)[4][5] Quantity demanded by each state[citation needed] Share for each state as per TN's demand[citation needed] Share for each state as per tribunal verdict of 2007 [6]

Tamil Nadu 44,016 (54%) 12,790 (29.2%)

Kerala Puducherry Total 2,866 (3.5%) -113 (14.3%) 126 (17%) 148(-) -81,155 34,660 790 740 1140.3 748 726

392 (52.9%) 222 (30%) 465 (41%) 177 (24%) 270 (37%)

566 (50%) 100 (9%) 9.3 (1%) 566 (76%) 5 (1%) 419 (58%) 30 (4%) 7 (1%)


1 History of the dispute 2 Post independence developments 3 1970s 4 1980s o 4.1 The constitution of the tribunal o 4.2 Interim award and the riots o 4.3 The crisis of 19951996 o 4.4 Constitution of the CRA o 4.5 The flare up and high drama of 2002 4.5.1 CRA meeting and the Supreme Court order 4.5.2 Demonstrations o 4.6 20032006 5 2007 - Judgement 6 2011 - Reports on Water Situation in Tamil Nadu 7 2012 8 Indian Government notifies Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal 9 See also 10 References 11 External links

History of the dispute

The British controlled both Mysore and Madras for a short period in the middle of the 19th century. During their regime, numerous plans were drawn up for the utilization of the Kaveri waters by both states. However, the drought and subsequent famine in the mid-1870s put a hold on the implementation of these plans. The plans were revived by Mysore in 1881, by which time Mysore was back in the hands of the Mysore kings, while present day Tamil Nadu continued to remain a part of the Madras Presidency. Mysore's plans to revive the irrigation projects met with resistance from the Madras Presidency. Mysore state made a representation to the then British government; as a result of which, a conference was held in 1890 with the objective of agreeing "on the principles of a modus vivendi, which would on the one hand allow to Mysore reasonable freedom in dealing with her irrigation works, and on the other, give to Madras practical security against injury to her interests" and eventually the Agreement of 1892 was signed. Karnataka deems this agreement as having been between unequal partners because, while Mysore state was a princely state, Madras formed a part of the British Raj. Karnataka also considers this agreement to have been severely inimical to its interests as it gave sweeping powers and prescriptive rights to Madras, the lower riparian state. As per this agreement, Mysore was required to obtain Madras' consent for any new irrigation reservoirs across any of the main rivers it wished to utilize and share information on any new irrigation scheme it wished to undertake to utilize the waters Things came to a head in 1910 when Mysore, under Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar as the king and Sir. M.Visvesvaraya as Chief Engineer came up with a plan to construct a dam at Kannambadi village to hold up to 41.5 TMC of water. The dam was planned to be built in two stages. In the first stage a capacity of 11 TMC was envisioned, while in the second stage the full capacity was set to be realized. Madras however, refused to give its consent for this move as it had its own plans to build a storage dam at Mettur with a capacity of 80 TMC. After a reference to the Government of India, permission was accorded to Mysore, but for a reduced storage of 11TMC. During construction, however, the foundation was laid to suit the earlier desired full storage. This raised Madras' hackles and the dispute continued. As a result, the then British Government of India referred the matter to arbitration under Rule IV of the 1892 Agreement. The Kaveri dispute thus had come up for arbitration for the first time. Sir H D Griffin was appointed arbitrator and M. Nethersole, the Inspector General of Irrigation in India, was made the Assessor. They entered into proceedings on 16 July 1913 and the Award was given on 12 May 1914. The award upheld the earlier decision of the Government of India and allowed Mysore to go ahead with the construction of the dam up to 11 TMC. The agreement also stipulated that Mysore was not to increase its area under irrigation more than 110,000 acres (450 km2) beyond what was already existing, while the same

cap for Madras Presidency was pegged at 301000|acre|km2. Nonetheless, Madras still appealed against the award and negotiations continued. Eventually an agreement was arrived at in 1924 and a couple of minor agreements were also signed in 1929 and 1933. The 1924 agreement was set to lapse after a run of 50 years. As a result of these agreements, Karnataka claims that Mysore was forced to give up rights.

Post independence developments

In 1947, India won independence from the British. This changed the equations drastically. Tamil Nadu was carved out of the Madras Presidency and Mysore became a state. Further in 1956, the reorganization of the states of India took place and state boundaries were redrawn based on linguistic demographics. Kodagu or Coorg (the birthplace of the Kaveri), became a part of Mysore state. Huge parts of erstwhile Hyderabad State and Bombay Presidency joined with Mysore state. Parts of Malabar which earlier formed part of Madras Presidency went to Kerala. Puducherry had already become a de facto Union territory in 1954. All these changes further changed the equations as Kerala and Puducherry also jumped into the fray. Kerala staked its claim as one of the major tributaries of the Kaveri, the Kabini, now originated in Kerala. The Karaikal region of Puducherry at the tail end of the river demanded the waters that it had always used for drinking and some minimal agriculture. While these additional claims complicated matters greatly at a technical level, Mysore state and Tamil Nadu still remained the major parties to the dispute. By the late 1960s, both states and the Central government began to realize the gravity of the situation as the 50 year run of the 1924 agreement was soon coming to an end. Negotiations were started in right earnest and discussions continued for almost 10 years.

While discussions continued, a Cauvery Fact Finding Committee (CFFC) was constituted. The brief of the CFFC was to inspect the ground realities and come up with a report. The CFFC came up with a preliminary report in 1972 and a final report in 1973. Inter state discussions were held based on this report. Finally in 1974, a draft agreement which also provided for the creation of a Cauvery Valley Authority was prepared by the Ministry of Irrigation. This draft however, was not ratified. While all these discussions went on, Tamil Nadus irrigated lands had grown from a preMettur command area of 1,440,000 acres (5,800 km2) to 2,580,000 acres (10,400 km2) [7] while Karnatakas irrigated area stood at 680,000 acres (2,800 km). Karnataka maintains that these figures demonstrate the lop-sided nature of the agreement.[7]

In 1976, after a series of discussions between the two states and the Central government chaired by Jagjeevan Ram, the then Irrigation Minister, a final draft was prepared based on findings of the CFFC. This draft was accepted by all states and the Government also made an announcement to that effect in Parliament. Tamil Nadu came under Presidents rule soon after that and the agreement was put on the backburner. When Presidents rule was lifted, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) with M. G. Ramachandran at the helm came to power for the first time in Tamil Nadu and the dispute took a new turn. The Tamil Nadu government now rejected the draft agreement and started insisting that the 1924 agreement had only provided for an extension and not a review. It began insisting that status quo be restored and everyone go back to the agreements of 1892 and 1924. This however, did not cut ice with Karnataka which had throughout maintained that those agreements were partisan and had been signed between unequal partners. When Karnataka began construction of the Harangi dam at Kushalanagara in Kodagu, it was once again met with resistance from Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu went to court demanding the constitution of a Tribunal under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act (ISWD) of 1956. It also demanded the immediate stoppage of construction work at the dam site. As a result of Tamil Nadus protests, Karnataka had to fund the construction under the non-plan head and this led to a severe strain on its finances.[8]

Later Tamil Nadu withdrew its case demanding the constitution of a tribunal and the two states started negotiating again. Several rounds of discussions were held in the 1980s. The result was still, a stalemate. In 1986, a farmers association from Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu moved the Supreme Court demanding the constitution of a tribunal. While this case was still pending, the two states continued many rounds of talks. This continued till April 1990 and yet yielded no results.

The constitution of the tribunal

The Supreme Court then directed the government headed by Prime Minister V. P. Singh to constitute a tribunal and refer all disputes to it. A three man tribunal was thus constituted on 2 June 1990. The tribunal was headquartered at New Delhi and was to be headed by Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee.[3][9] The four states presented their demands to the tribunal as under

Karnataka - claimed 465 billion ft (13 km) as its share Kerala - claimed 99.8 billion ft (2.83 km) as its share Puducherry - claimed 9.3 billion ft (0.3 km) Tamil Nadu - claimed the flows should be ensured in accordance with the terms of the agreements of 1892 and 1924 (ie., 566 billion ft (16 km) for

Tamil Nadu and Puducherry; 177 billion ft (5 km) for Karnataka and 5 billion ft (0.1 km) for Kerala).

Interim award and the riots

Soon after the tribunal was set up, Tamil Nadu demanded a mandatory injunction on Karnataka for the immediate release of water and other reliefs. This was dismissed by the tribunal. Tamil Nadu now went back to the Supreme Court which directed the tribunal to reconsider Tamil Nadus plea. The tribunal reconsidered Tamil Nadus plea and gave an interim award on 25 June 1991. In coming up with this award, the tribunal calculated the average inflows into Tamil Nadu over a period of 10 years between 198081 and 198990. The extreme years were ignored for this calculation. The average worked out to 205 billion ft (5.8 km) which Karnataka had to ensure reached Tamil Nadu in a water year. The award also stipulated the weekly and monthly flows to be ensured by Karnataka for each month of the water year. The tribunal further directed Karnataka not to increase its irrigated land area from the existing 1,120,000 acres (4,500 km2) Karnataka deemed this extremely inimical to its interests and issued an ordinance seeking to annul the tribunals award. The Supreme Court now stepped in at the Presidents instance and struck down the Ordinance issued by Karnataka. It upheld the tribunals award which was subsequently gazetted by the Government of India on 11 December 1991. Karnataka was thus forced to accept the interim award and widespread demonstrations and violence broke out in parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu following this. Thousands of Tamil families had to flee from Bangalore in fear of being attacked and lynched by pro-Kannada activists. The violence and show down, mostly centered in the Tamil populated parts of Bangalore, lasted for nearly a month and most schools and educational institutions in Bangalore remained closed during this period.

The crisis of 19951996

In 1995, the monsoons failed badly in Karnataka and the state found itself hard pressed to fulfill the interim order. Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court demanding the immediate release of at least 30 billion ft. The Supreme Court refused to entertain Tamil Nadu's petition and asked it to approach the tribunal. The tribunal examined the case and recommended that Karnataka release 11 billion ft. Karnataka pleaded that 11 billion ft was unimplementable in the circumstances that existed then. Tamil Nadu now went back to the Supreme Court demanding that Karnataka be forced to obey the tribunal's order. The Supreme Court this time recommended that the then Prime Minister, P. V. Narasimha Rao, intervene and find a political solution. The Prime Minister convened a meeting with the Chief Ministers of the two states and recommended that Karnataka release 6 billion ft instead of the 11 billion ft that the tribunal ordered. Karnataka complied with the decision of the Prime Minister and the issue blew over.

Constitution of the CRA

Karnataka had all through maintained that the interim award was not 'scientific' and was inherently flawed. It had, nevertheless, complied with the order except during 199596 when rains failed. What complicated matters was that the Interim award was ambiguous on distress sharing and there was no clear cut formula that everyone agreed upon to share the waters in the case of failure of the monsoon. In 1997, the Government proposed the setting up of a Cauvery River Authority which would be vested with far reaching powers to ensure the implementation of the Interim Order. These powers included the power to take over the control of dams in the event of the Interim Order not being honoured. Karnataka, which had always maintained that the interim order had no scientific basis and was intrinsically flawed, strongly protested the proposal to set up such an authority. The Government then made several modifications to the powers of the Authority and came up with a new proposal. The new proposal greatly reduced the executive powers of the Authority. The power to take over control of dams was also done away with. Under this new proposal, the Government set up two new bodies, viz., Cauvery River Authority and Cauvery Monitoring Committee. The Cauvery River Authority would consist of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of all four states (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala) and was headquartered in New Delhi. The Cauvery Monitoring Committee on the other hand, was an expert body which consisted of engineers, technocrats and other officers who would take stock of the 'ground realities' and report to the government .

The flare up and high drama of 2002

In the summer of 2002, things once again came to a head as the monsoon failed in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Reservoirs in both states fell to record low levels and inevitably tempers rose. The sticking point yet again, as in 199596 was how the distress would be shared between the two states. The tribunal had overlooked this crucial point[10] when it gave the interim award and it had returned once again to haunt the situation. Tamil Nadu demanded that Karnataka honour the interim award and release to Tamil Nadu its proportionate share. Karnataka on the other hand stated that the water levels were hardly enough to meet its own demands and ruled out releasing any water in the circumstances that prevailed.[11] CRA meeting and the Supreme Court order A meeting of the Cauvery River Authority was called on 27 August but the Karnataka chief minister walked out of the meeting. The focus now shifted to the Supreme Court which ordered Karnataka to release 1.25 billion ft of water every day unless the Cauvery River Authority revised it. Karnataka started the release of water but pressed for another meeting of the Cauvery River Authority which was fixed for 8 September. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister this time boycotted the meet citing insufficient notice as the reason.

A minister from her cabinet, however represented Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery River Authority revised the Court's order from 1.25 billion ft to 0.8 billion ft per day. This time however, the Karnataka government in open defiance of the order of the Cauvery River Authority, refused to release any water succumbing to the large scale protests that had mounted in the Kaveri districts of the state. Tamil Nadu aghast at the defiance, went back to the Supreme Court. Karnataka now resumed the release of water for a few days, but stopped it again on 18 September as a protesting farmer committed suicide by jumping into the reservoir and the protests threatened to take a dangerous turn. The centre now stepped in and asked Karnataka to release the water. The Supreme Court meanwhile, in response to Tamil Nadu's petition asked the Cauvery River Authority for details of the water release and water levels in the reservoirs. The Cauvery River Authority in turn ordered inspections of the reservoirs. While the Cauvery River Authority inspected the reservoirs in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu (on 23 September) flatly refused to grant them permission to inspect its reservoirs. This move by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, coupled with her earlier walkout and boycott of the Cauvery River Authority meetings, came in for severe criticism from all quarters. On 30 September the Supreme court ordered Tamil Nadu to co-operate with the Cauvery River Authority and Tamil Nadu gave in Demonstrations The flare up had by now, well and truly taken an ugly turn and there were accusations and counter accusations being thrown all around in both states. The opposition parties in Tamil Nadu too had jumped into the fray and at the same time joining Jayalalitha in stinging rebukes of both the Centre and the Cauvery River Authority, while the opposition parties in Karnataka expressed their full solidarity with the Congress-led Karnataka government to protect their right to the Kaveri water. To add to all this, the dispute had already spilled onto the streets in the Mandya district of Karnataka and was threatening to spread to other parts of the state too. Precipitating the matters on the streets, the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka on 3 October to comply with the Cauvery River Authority and resume the release of water. Karnataka once again refused to obey the orders of the Supreme Court. Tamil Nadu slapped another contempt petition on Karnataka and soon the issue degenerated into a 'free for all' with all and sundry from both states joining the protests. Soon, film actors and various other cross sections of society from both states were on the streets. Tamil TV channels and screening of Tamil films were blocked in Karnataka. Also all buses and vehicles from Tamil Nadu were barred from entering Karnataka. The belligerence soon hit a crescendo with Tamil activists calling for a stoppage of power from Neyveli Thermal Power Station to Karnataka as a tit-for-tat measure. A Pan-Tamil militant outfit (a month or so later) went ahead and blasted a major power transformer supplying power to the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.[12]

The Karnataka Chief Minister, S. M. Krishna on the other hand, fearing that the situation might spiral out of control, embarked on a padayatra from Bangalore to Mandya. While some saw this as merely a gimmick, some, like U R Ananthamurthy saw it as a good faith effort to soothe tempers and joined him in the yatra.

This period did not see any major flare up in the dispute even though the summer of 2003 saw a dry spell in both states. The monsoons in 2004, 2005 and 2006 was quite copious and this helped a great deal in keeping the tempers calm. While the last 3 or 4 years have been relatively quiet as far as jingoistic voices are concerned, a flurry of development has been afoot in the courts. The term of the tribunal was initially set to expire in August 2005. However, in the light of the many arguments the court was yet to hear, the tribunal filed a request for extension of its term. The extension was granted and the tribunal's term was extended for another year until September 2006. Early in 2006, a major controversy erupted over the 'Assessor's report' that was apparently 'leaked' to the press. The report had suggested a decision which Karnataka summarily rejected. Another major controversy erupted when just a couple of months before the September 2006 deadline, the tribunal recommended the formation of another expert committee to study the 'ground realities' yet again. This was unanimously and vehemently opposed by all the four states party to the dispute. The states contended that this move would further delay a judgment which has already been 16 years in the making. More than the disapproval of all the four states of the new expert committee that was proposed, the proposal turned out to be a major embarrassment for the tribunal. This was because, not only were the four states opposed to it, even the Chief Judge of the tribunal was opposed to it. However the other two assistant judges on 3-man adjudication team, overruled the opinion of the main Judge. And all this was done in a packed courtroom and this led to petty bickering and heated arguments between the three judges in the packed courtroom. This left everyone in the courtroom shocked and the Tamil Nadu counsel was moved to remark that it was embarrassing that the judges probably needed help settling their own disputes before adjudicating on the dispute at hand. Nonetheless, the new expert committee was formed and carried out further assessments. Subsequently, the extended deadline of the tribunal also passed and the tribunal was given yet another extension.

2007 - Judgement
The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal announced its final verdict on 5 February 2007.[13] [14][15][16][17][18] According to its verdict,[19] Tamil Nadu gets 419 billion ft (12 km) of Kaveri water while Karnataka gets 270 billion ft (7.6 km). The actual release of water by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu is to be 192 billion ft (5.4 km) annually. Further, Kerala will get 30 billion ft and Puducherry 7 billion ft. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, unhappy with the decision, filed a revision petition before the tribunal seeking a review.[citation needed]

2011 - Reports on Water Situation in Tamil Nadu

Prof. S Janakarajan, from Madras Institute of Development Studies, Tamil Nadu, submitted a report to the India Water Portal, in Dec 2011, on the increasing levels of Water Pollution in Tamil Nadu. The Rivers of Cooum River, Adyar River, Cauvery all listed with highest levels of water pollution, due to sewage and industrial effluents, driving Tamil Nadu towards Severe Water Shortage.[20] The Palar River was ranked the World's 3rd most polluted river, by the Blacksmith Institute in 2006. [21] Original Presentation that was made at the India International Center New Delhi 7th Dec 2011 is named 'dying-or-dead-rivers-of-tamil-nadu-sjanakarajan-iic-2011.ppt' Download

On 19 Sep 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the Chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, directed Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Kaveri water to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu (the border) daily from September 21 t-19}}</ref> But Karnataka felt that this was impractical due to the drought conditions prevailing because of the failed monsoon. Karnataka then walked out of the high level meeting as a sign of protest. On 21 September, Karnataka filed a petition before the Cauvery River Authority seeking review of its 19 September ruling. On 24 September, Tamil Nadu's Chief minister directed the officials to immediately file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to Karnataka to release Tamil Nadu its due share of water.[23] On 28 Sep 2012, the Supreme Court slammed the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the directive of the Cauvery River Authority.[24] Left with no other option, Karnataka started releasing water. This led to wide protests and violence in Karnataka. [25] On 4 October 2012, the Karnataka government filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on its September 28 order directing it to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water everyday to Tamil Nadu, until October 15. [26] On 6 October 2012, Several Kannada organisations, under the banner of Kannada Okkoota, called a Karnataka bandh (close down) on October 6 in protest against the Kaveri water release.[27] On 8 October, the Supreme Court of India announced the release of 9,000 cusecs has to be continued and it is up to the Cauvery River Authority's head, the Prime Minister, as a responsible person, to ensure this happened. The Prime Minister ruled out a review of the Cauvery River Authoritys decision until 20 October, rejecting

the plea by both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders from Karnataka. Within a few hours, Karnataka stopped release of Kaveri water to Tamil Nadu. [28] On 9 October 2012, Tamil Nadu's chief minister directed authorities to immediately file a contempt petition against the Karnataka government for flouting the verdict of the Supreme Court by unilaterally stopping the release of water to Tamil Nadu.[29] Tamil Nadu made a fresh plea in the Supreme Court on 17 October, reiterating its demand for appropriate directions to be issued to Karnataka to make good the shortfall of 48 tmcft of water as per the distress sharing formula.[30] On 15 November 2012, The Cauvery Monitoring Committee directed the Karnataka government to release 4.81 tmcft to Tamil Nadu between 16 and 30 November.[31] On 6 December, the supreme court directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu. The court asked the union government to indicate the time frame within which the final decision of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, which was given in February 2007, was to be notified. This decision was given in the view of saving the standing crops of both the states.[clarification needed][32]

Indian Government notifies Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal

On 20 February 2013, based on the directions of the Supreme Court, the Indian Government has notified the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing the waters of the Cauvery system among the basin States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala and Union territory of Puducherry. The extraordinary notification in the gazette dated February 19, 2013 says the order takes effect on the date of publication. The Tribunal, in a unanimous decision in 2007, determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site, including 14 tmcft for environmental protection and seepage into the sea. The final award makes an annual allocation of 419 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry. [33] [34] [35]

Karnataka Basin Area (in km)[36] Share for each state as per Cauvery Tribunal final award Dated 19 February 2012 [37] 34,273 (42%) 270 (37%)

Tamil Kerala Puducherry Total Nadu 44,016 2,866 148(-) 81,155 (54%) (3.5%) 419 (58%) 30 (4%) 7 (1%) 726

Tamil Nadu-Kerala dam row

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Mullaperiyar Dam. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2011.

Mullaperiyar dam This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2011) Tamil Nadu-Kerala dam row (alternatively India dam row) is an ongoing row and the long legal battle between the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala about the Mullaperiyar dam on the Periyar river. Although the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by the government of Tamil Nadu which signed a 999year lease agreement with the former British government to irrigate farmland on its side. The agreement was signed by the Secretary of Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) under the British Raj and the King of Travancore. Kerala now says the dam is too old and dilapidated and poses immense danger to millions of people living in the region and that it needs to be destroyed and rebuilt - a move opposed by Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu maintains that the dam was repaired in 1979 and insists the dam's walls have been strengthened and that it can hold more water than the current level of 136 ft (41m). Protests, calling for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene, erupted across Kerala demanding construction of a new dam to replace the Mullaperiyar dam. These new protests were triggered by recent low-intensity earthquakes that prompted scientists to say the dam could not withstand more-intensive tremors.

Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala This was followed by the chief minister of Kerala's meeting with Manmohan Singh to try to resolve the damaging row with neighbouring Tamil Nadu. As the row intensified, police in Kerala banned gatherings of more than five people at the dam near the Tamil Nadu border. The move was followed clashes between people from the two states near the town of Kumali. However, in the countries capital, Members of Parliament from Kerala and Tamil Nadu clashed in India's upper house of parliament over the Issue. Thousands of people of Kerala have formed a 208 km human wall in a following day to demand a replacement to the dam although Tamil Nadu insists it is safe and that water levels can be raised. The protest was led by the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) in which politicians, social activists and families along the way took part.[1] The central government has invited senior officials from both states to discuss the issue later in December 2011.


1 Interstate dispute 2 Justice A.S. Anand Committee (The Empowered Committee) 3 Construction of a new dam 4 References 5 See also

Interstate dispute
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (November 2011)

Mullaperiyar reservoir

A poster in a bus in Tamil Nadu against Kerala's state in this issue For Tamil Nadu, Mullaperiyar dam and the diverted Periyar waters act as a lifeline for Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramnad Districts, providing water for irrigation, drinking and also for generation of power in Lower Periyar Power Station. Tamil Nadu has insisted on exercising its unfettered rights to control the dam and its waters, based on the 1866 lease agreement. Kerala has pointed out the unfairness in the 1886 lease agreement and has challenged the validity of this agreement. However safety concerns posed by the 116 year old dam to the safety of the people of Kerala in the event of a dam collapse, have been the focus of disputes from 2009 onward. Kerala's proposal for decommissioning the dam and construction of a new dam, has been challenged by Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu has insisted on raising the water level in the dam to 142 feet, pointing out crop failures. One estimate states that "the crop losses to Tamil Nadu, because of the reduction in the height of the dam, between 1980 and 2005 is a whopping 40,000 crores. In the process the farmers of the erstwhile rain shadow areas in Tamil Nadu who had started a thrice yearly cropping pattern had to go back to the bi-annual cropping." [2] The Kerala Government maintains that this is not true. During the year 197980 the gross area cultivated in Periyar command area was 171,307 acres (693.25 km2). After the

lowering of the level to 136 ft (41 m), the gross irrigated area increased and in 199495 it reached 229,718 acres (929.64 km2).[3] The Tamil Nadu government had increased its withdrawal from the reservoir, with additional facilities to cater to the increased demand from newly irrigated areas.[citation needed] In 2006, the Supreme Court of India by its decision by a three member division bench, allowed for the storage level to be raised to 142 feet (43 m) pending completion of the proposed strengthening measures, provision of other additional vents and implementation of other suggestions.[4] However, the Kerala Government promulgated a new "Dam Safety Act" against increasing the storage level of the dam, which has not been objected by the Supreme Court. Tamil Nadu challenged it on various grounds. The Supreme Court issued notice to Kerala to respond, however did not stay the operation of the Act even as an interim measure. The Court then advised the States to settle the matter amicably, and adjourned hearing in order to enable them to do so. The Supreme Court of India termed the act as not unconstitutional.[5] Meanwhile, the Supreme Court constituted a Constitution bench to hear the case considering its wide ramifications.[6] Kerala did not object giving water to Tamil Nadu. Their main cause of objection is the dams safety as it is as old as 110 years. Increasing the level would add more pressure to be handled by already leaking dam.[7] Tamil Nadu wants the 2006 order of Supreme court be implemented so as to increase the water level to 142 feet (43 m). In 2000 Frontline one author stated thus: "For every argument raised by Tamil Nadu in support of its claims, there is counter-argument in Kerala that appears equally plausible. Yet, each time the controversy gets embroiled in extraneous issues, two things stand out: One is Kerala's refusal to acknowledge the genuine need of the farmers in the otherwise drought-prone regions of Tamil Nadu for the waters of the Mullaperiyar; the other is Tamil Nadu's refusal to see that it cannot rely on or continue to expect more and more from the resources of another State to satisfy its own requirements to the detriment of the other State. A solution perhaps lies in acknowledging the two truths, but neither government can afford the political repercussions of such a confession".[8]

Justice A.S. Anand Committee (The Empowered Committee)

On 18 February 2010, the Supreme Court decided to constitute a five-member empowered committee to study all the issues of Mullaperiyar Dam and seek a report from it within six months.[9] The Bench in its draft order said Tamil Nadu and Kerala would have the option to nominate a member each, who could be either a retired judge or a technical expert. The five-member committee will be headed by former Chief Justice of India A. S. Anand to go into all issues relating to the dam's safety and the storage level. However, the then ruling party of Tamil Nadu, DMK, passed a resolution that it not only

oppose the apex court's decision to form the five-member committee, but also said that the state government will not nominate any member to it.[10] The then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said that immediately after the Supreme Court announced its decision to set up a committee, he had written to Congress president asking the Centre to mediate between Kerala and Tamil Nadu on Mullaperiyar issue.[11] However, the then Leader of Opposition i.e., the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa objected to the TN Government move. She said that this would give advantage to Kerala in the issue.[12] Meanwhile, Kerala Water Resources Minister N. K. Premachandran told the state Assembly that the State should have the right of construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the new dam, while giving water to Tamil Nadu on the basis of a clear cut agreement. He also informed the media that Former Supreme Court Judge Mr. K. T. Thomas will represent Kerala on the expert panel constituted by Supreme Court.[13] On 8 March 2010, Tamil Nadu told the Supreme Court that it was not interested in adjudicating the dispute with Kerala before the special empowered committee appointed by the apex court for settling the inter-State issue.[14] However, Supreme Court refused to accept Tamil Nadu's request to scrap the decision to form the empowered committee. The Supreme Court also criticized the Union Government on its reluctance in funding the empowered committee.[15] Implementing directions of the Supreme Court, the Central Government extended the terms of Empowered Committee for a further period of six months, namely till April 30, 2012.[6]

Construction of a new dam

Kerala enacted the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006 to ensure safety of all 'endangered' dams in the State, listed in the second schedule to the Act. Section 62A of the Act provides for listing in the schedule, "details of the dams which are endangered on account of their age, degeneration, degradation, structural or other impediments as are specified".[16][17] The second schedule to the Act lists Mullaperiyar (dam) constructed in 1895 and fixes 136 feet as its maximum water level. The Act empowers Kerala Dam Safety Authority (Authority specified in the Act) to oversee safety of dams in the State and sec 62(e) empowers the Authority to direct the custodian (of a dam) "to suspend the functioning of any dam, to decommission any dam or restrict the functioning of any dam if public safety or threat to human life or property, so require". The Authority can conduct periodical inspection of any dam listed in the schedule. In pursuance of Kerala's dam safety law declaring Mullaperiyar dam as an endangered dam, in September 2009, the Ministry of Environment and Forests of Government of India granted environmental clearance to Kerala for conducting survey for new dam downstream.[18] Tamil Nadu approached Supreme Court for a stay order against the clearance; however, the plea was rejected. Consequently, the survey was started in

October, 2009. On Sept. 9, 2009 stated it had already communicated to the Government of India as well as to the Government of Kerala that there is no need for construction of a new dam by the Kerala Government, as the existing dam after it is strengthened, functions like a new dam.[6]

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