Cauvery row: TN files plea in SC saying CWMA chief is partial

Chennai: The Tamilnadu government has submitted a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions to appoint a full-time, independent chairman for the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).

At present, Masood Hussain is the interim chairman of the CWMA – the statutory body that exercises power to monitor the storage, apportionment and regulation and control of Cauvery waters.

Masood also serves as the chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC). It is to be noted that recently, Masood, in his capacity of chairman of the CWC had granted clearance to the Karnataka government to prepare a detailed project report for the contentious Mekedatu reservoir project.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had stated that the Tamilnadu government was not consulted before the clearance was granted. Following this, the Tamilnadu Assembly came down hard on the CWC chairman.

In its petition, Tamilnadu said the Project Appraisal Directorate (south) of the CWC had entertained the feasibility report submitted by Karnataka and given the go-ahead for preparation of a detailed project report (for Mekedatu). The Tamilnadu petition said there is ‘every likelihood’ that ‘conflict of interest’ would arise in the discharge of dual positions held by Masood Hussain – as chairman of CWC and interim chairman of CWMA.

In the second meeting of the CWMA 3 December, Tamilnadu submitted its detailed objections regarding grant of permission by the director, Project Appraisal Directorate, functioning under the chairman, CWC and CWMA (additional charge).

However, it was stated in the meeting that the agenda item relating to Mekedatu was only sent for information and it was not being deliberated.

The Tamilnadu petition said CWC and its chairman was partial towards Karnataka’s cause and Tamilnadu’s pleas and arguments were not heard or considered. So, a permanent and independent chief needed to be appointed for CWMA, it said.

Even after six months from the date of constitution, the CWMA was yet to be established in a full-fledged manner, it said.

The full-time chairman and members were yet to be posted and made fully functional. The delay in posting a full-time chairman and members affected the object for which the scheme for implementation of the final decision of the court was made, the petition said.

NT Bureau