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Cauvery tribunal award gazetting is Jayalalithaa's victory

Posted on Feb 20, 07:14PM | IANS

Chennai, Feb 20 : Hailing the gazetting of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) Wednesday by the central government, CPI leader D. Pandian said it was a victory for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.

The Commuist Party of India Tamil Nadu state unit secretary said the central government action was also a fitting birthday gift for the chief minister, who turns 65 Feb 24.

The gazetting of the award comes in compliance with a Supreme Court deadline in the matter, which ended Wednesday.

"Certainly the Tamil Nadu chief minister can claim credit for this measure. It was she who approached the apex court, forcing the central government to gazette the tribunal's order. It is a fitting birthday gift," Pandian told IANS.

Pandian said the DMK could not claim credit for the central government's action as it was not able to do this all these years, despite the party's parliament members occupying cabinet positions in the central government.

However, Pandian said the sharing of river waters should not be looked at merely as an issue between two states, but as a national issue affecting food production.

"If the tribunal's order is not implemented properly, it will not only affect the relationship between two states but also the relationship with the central government," Pandian remarked.

Welcoming the news, the BJP's Tamil Nadu chief Pon Radhakrishnan told IANS: "It is a big victory for the people of Tamil Nadu. The central government could have done this even six years back."

He said all the political parties were of the same view in respect of the Cauvery water dispute.

"Had the DMK, when it was in power in the state earlier, pressed the central government, this could have been achieved much more easily," Radhakrishnan added.

According to him, water should now be released by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu based on the order, and the BJP is happy with the development.

However, DMK party officials were not available for comments.

The tribunal has awarded Tamil Nadu 419 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) as against its demand for 562 tmc ft while Kerala gets 30tmc ft and Puducherry seven tmc ft.

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar led an all-party team to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Monday and urged him not to notify the award.

However, the central government has been left with little option but to notify the award as the Supreme Court Feb 4 directed it to do so by Feb 20.

The tribunal estimates availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740tmc ft.