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Krishna panel members' resignation, blow to Govt.

T.V. Sivanandan

Will affect presentation of State's case before new tribunal


  • A critical period when State has to protect its unutilised share of Krishna waters
  • Resignation a major setback, say irrigation experts
  • Most of the members are well versed with the Krishna waters dispute
  • Appointment of new members will cause further delay in presenting State's case

    GULBARGA: The decision of the non-official members, including the Chairman, D.N. Desai, to resign from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on the Krishna Water Disputes has come as a severe blow to the State Government.

    Also, the resignation of members of the Master Plan Committee constituted to come up with projects to utilise the surplus waters to be allocated by the new Krishna tribunal on the plea that their remuneration is too low has come at a crucial time. This a critical period when the Government is preparing itself for a long-drawn battle with Andhra Pradesh to protect Karnataka's unutilised share of over 100 tmcft of water under Scheme A of the Bachawat Award.

    Irrigation experts see the resignation of the non-official members of the TAC as a major setback for the State. The TAC is entrusted with the job of preparing detailed project reports with the estimated cost of utilisation of water for individual projects to be placed before the new tribunal headed by Brajesh Kumar. The latest development will affect the interests of the State when it presents its case before the new tribunal, the experts say.

    What was surprising was the reason attributed for the resignation: that members of the TAC were paid much less that what was being paid to the legal team. Most of the non-official members of the TAC, constituted by the previous S.M. Krishna Government, were retired Chief Engineers of the Irrigation Department, who are well versed with the Krishna water disputes and their services would have been of immense use to the legal team headed by the senior Supreme Court advocate Fali S. Nariman.

    Official sources said here on Thursday that the master plan on projects to utilise the surplus waters allocated by the Brajesh Kumar tribunal is in the final stage and only finishing touches are needed.

    Another issue that has caused a stir in legal circles is the inclusion of a Gulbarga-based advocate, R.S. Pappu, in the legal team headed by Mr. Nariman. Legal and irrigation experts are of the opinion that the advocate is not well versed with the Krishna water disputes.

    When the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, who is a friend and classmate of Mr. Pappu, was asked about the issue during his visit here, he brushed aside the criticism, stating that there is a need to give exposure to local advocates in such cases.

    The irrigation experts feel that there are only two courses left before the Government: either the non-official members of the TAC and the Master Plan Committee should be persuaded to withdraw their resignation by hiking their remuneration, or new committees should be constituted.

    Further delay

    Appointing new members to the TAC and the Master Plan Committee will cause a further delay in presenting the State's effectively before the new tribunal as the new members will require some time to acquaint themselves with the various issues involved, the experts say.

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