Solving the Cauvery issue
This refers to the news article “Troubled waters” (FE, September 15). The Supreme Court of United States in its 1931 judgement on the Delaware river dispute between the State of New Jersey and the State of New York observed, “[A] river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have power over it.” This was precisely the essence of the Supreme Court of India’s direction to the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu till September 20. However, the arson and rioting over sharing of Cauvery waters that followed, has brought to light the short-sightedness of policymakers in bringing the adjudication and arbitration efforts to fruition and has instead reiterated the need for a permanent and dynamic riparian dispute resolution mechanism in the country. It is unfortunate that an inter-State water dispute that can at best be resolved through peaceful dialogue has been allowed to develop into a raging controversy over linguistic chauvinism and regional identity. While the Union government should be applauded for making efforts to sort out the problem between principal players through the institutional mechanism of the Cauvery River Authority, it cannot escape the accusation of allowing such disputes to go unchecked for decades, leading to undesirable and dangerous ramifications. This is particularly true after its failure to avoid face-off between Punjab and Haryana over the construction of Sutlej-Yamuna link canal. It is time the governments in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu stopped using political pulpits to fan flames of hatred by indulging in parochial opportunism. The Cauvery Tribunal’s 2007 award should be revisited to recalibrate the share of each riparian state based on a rainfall-linked formula.
Shreyans Jain, Delhi