In the wake of a row over Cauvery water, Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan today underscored the need for evolving a consensus to bring the subject of water in Concurrent List.
“There is a need to discuss whether this subject can be brought under Concurrent List in view of water crisis. Several problems can be solved if the subject is brought in the Concurrent List, for Centre can do something in case of disputes then. Right now, water is a state subject and we can’t do much about it,” he said while speaking about the row.
The Minister of State for Water Resources, who had spoken on the issue during the last Monsoon session of Parliament as well, claimed that several Parliamentarians share his view and stressed on the need to evolve the consensus cutting party lines.
“An initiative in this regard though should come from within the Parliament first. An environment in this regard should evolve first,” he added.
In the past, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources too have stated the need for bringing the subject in the Concurrent List.
In December last year, the Standing Committee had urged the Centre to initiate “earnest” efforts to build a national consensus for bringing water in the Concurrent List of Constitution so that a comprehensive plan can be prepared for water conservation.
The Panel had said water needs to be dealt within a consultative manner, taking into consideration the overall national perspective and given the fact that country will face acute water crisis in near future, especially ground water.
Water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments and storage fall in the state list.
The Supreme Court had on September 5 directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for 10 days to ameliorate plight of the farmers there.
Noting that the samba crops in Tamil Nadu would be adversely affected, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit directed Karnataka to ensure supply of water to Tamil Nadu.
Following the decision, farmers and pro-Kannada outfit activists hit the streets and observed bandh in Karnataka’s Mandya district, considered as the hotbed of Cauvery politics.