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Is it possible to solve Cauvery water dispute between Tamilnadu and Karnataka?

To answer this question assertively, ‘YES’ is the notable response. Every problem has a solution and to say it is possible to solve Cauvery water dispute between Tamilnadu and Karnataka. It is possible in the sense that is in the present scenario, the level of possibility may be abruptly low but at the same time it can be solved. What it means is that it is not Cauvery River dispute; nevertheless it is a game – a catastrophically driven political game. Before that, let us investigate what would be the things that have brought us to this scene.

Long before 200 years, adaptation of paddy cultivation in both Karnataka and Tamilnadu made the requirement of more water. Before the paddy cultivation, only millets were cultivated for food consumption. As paddy and sugarcane require more water for their growth, there came the problem of insufficiency. And as far as Cauvery River is concerned, it totally relies upon monsoon. But now the monsoon is threatening. 2 agreements were signed between the then Madras Presidency and the state of Mysore, in 1892 and 1924. But, still those agreements are not agreed upon it seems!!!

Presently, the February 16 Supreme Court Judgment in the Cauvery appeals had directed the Centre to frame the scheme in 6 weeks; the deadline ended on March 29. On the eve of deadline, the Centre moved the Supreme Court for a 3-month extension. The apex court had on February 16 raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamilnadu’s share while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”. It also directed the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgment on water dispute. It further modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.

Water is a threatened resource. It must be conserved but in turn we are depleting. Currently, the IT city fame, ‘Bangalore’ is using nearly 10 tmcft Cauvery water per year. India’s silicon city is the 4th largest technologically grown city. For its rapid growth, water is also a reason. If Cauvery Management is established, the entire commerce will fling upon a catastrophe. So, the commencement of CMB implementation is still paused.

As already mentioned that it is a political game, it must be looked on. Moreover, it is not a ‘Cauvery issue, it is ‘Cauvery politics’ indeed. The Supreme Court has ordered the Central Government (BJP) to implement the CMB which should consist of leaders from Tamilnadu, Karnataka and the Union. The Central Government hasn’t turned up yet. The ruling party (Congress) in Karnataka entirely relies on the Central Government for initiation. As the forthcoming election in Karnataka is between BJP & Congress, whoever takes up the initiation to set up CMB couldn’t get votes from Karnataka dwellers. Owing BJP compete in the election, the Central Government doesn’t want to take up any initiative. But the outcome is the suffering faced by the Tamilnadu dwellers.

It is possible to solve this dispute. We’ve already came across these sort of issues which were solved through political stability. The very first initiative is to have a stable government. There is nothing to do with all those protests like ‘Bandh’, ‘strike’, etc. because that won’t make the Union nod their heads. In turn, we should say that we cannot give electricity, we cannot trade, and we cannot pay CGST to the Central Government which may end up in entire fall in GDP. It isn’t an end to solution rather it may be the initiative to arrive at a solution.

In Israel, there existed a dispute like this, they managed by adapting agricultural management practices like drip irrigation, organic farming (as fertilizer application involves more water) and household water conservatory systems (reusing water), banning fountains and other water entertaining activities, etc. We can also suggest some of these techniques in our state & adapting millets cultivation which ensure availability of water. And there are almost 350 lakes in Tamilnadu but many constructions have encroached these areas. When reclamation measures are taken up, we may not depend on others for water. Unless some sorts of solutions are taken, we cannot save the lives of farmers. Let us not delay and hope for the best!!!