The Cauvery Conflict
Source:NIAS, Volume No. B5-2010, Number 978-81-87663-94-2, Bangalore (2010)
The conflict over sharing of the waters of the Cauvery has spread over more than a century, involving four prominent contenders in South India? the riparian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the union territory of Pondicherry. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have historically clashed on the issue, dating back to the times of the British-controlled Madras Presidency and the Princely State of Mysore while Kerala entered the fray on the reorganisation of states in 1956 and Pondicherry, only in the 1970s. While two treaties, the Agreements of 1892 and 1924, held the peace between Mysore and Madras through the last few decades of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, the sharing of Cauvery waters once again turned contentious with Tamil Nadu alleging a violation of the terms of one of the treaties by Karnataka, and conflicting interpretations by the two states of a clause of the 1924 agreement. Tamil Nadu stood at a historical advantage in terms of irrigation development and Karnataka claimed its right to accelerate its exploitation of the waters. Through the 1960s, '70s and '80s, series of talks between the states failed to establish a solution agreeable to all the parties involved. Finally, in 1990, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was instituted with the purpose of arriving at a watersharing formula between the states. The Tribunal released an interim order in 1991 and eventually, 17 years after its creation, announced its final verdict in 2007. However, the order is as yet unimplemented as a Special Leave Petition on the matter remains pending in the Supreme Court.
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