Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Water dispute

any dispute or difference between two or more State Governments with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley
Interstate River Water Disputes Act – 1956 (IRWD Act) enacted on 28 August 1956 by the Indian parliament under Article 262 on the eve of reorganization of states on linguistic basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
Amendment 2002: This amendment specifically does not permit altering the
prevailing tribunal verdicts issued before the year 2002 (i.e. but not the tribunal awards issued after the year 2002). Thus this amendment bars the tribunals to give any time period/validity for constituting a new tribunal. This is to keep provision to resolve fresh water disputes which were not addressed by earlier tribunals/ agreements as and when they surface. A permanent water dispute tribunal is contemplated to resolve the growing number of interstate river water disputes expediously.

SARKARIA COMMISSION recommendations on Inter-State River Water Disputes:
  • Once an application under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act (33 of 1956) is received from a State, it should be mandatory on the Union Government to constitute a Tribunal within a period not exceeding one year from the date of receipt of the application of any disputant State.
  • The Inter-State Water Disputes Act should be amended to empower the Union Government to appoint a Tribunal, suo-moto, if necessary, when it is satisfied that such a dispute exists in fact.
  •  There should be a Data Bank and information system at the national level and adequate machinery should be set up for this purpose at the earliest.
  • The award of a Tribunal becomes effective within five years from the date of constitution of a Tribunal. If, however, for some reasons, a Tribunal feels that the five years period has to be extended, the Union Government may on a reference made by the Tribunal extend its term.
  • A Tribunal's award has the same force and sanction behind it as an order or decree of the Supreme Court to make a Tribunal's award really binding.

PUNCHI COMMISSION: recommendation on water disputes:-

(i) The Tribunal should be a multidisciplinary body presided over by a Judge. 
(ii)  It should follow a more participatory and conciliatory approach. 
(iii) The statute should prescribe a time limit for clarificatory or supplementary orders. Appeals to the Supreme Court should be prescribed under the statute; and in the long run; and Reference to a Tribunal should be invariably linked with constitution of inter-State River Boards charged with an integrated watershed approach towards inter-State rivers.
(iv)The initiating party must indicate the efforts it has made in resolution of its grievances before a River Board. 
(v) The Government of India must indicate the stand it took before the Board and in case a Board has not been constituted the reasons for not having constituted one as well as the likely time frame in case the process is underway.

the Cauvery issue is about opposition to the release of fixed amounts of water to Tamil Nadu, the Krishna issue is about deciding the quantum of water to be divided between Karnataka and other States

In a developing country like India, the inter­state river water dispute must be resolved quickly so that water resources could be utilized and har­nessed properly for economic development. One of the measures could be to declare all the major rivers as national property and national schemes under the central assistance should he launched for the devel­opment of their total command area with partial involvement of the concerned states. Separate cor­porations on the line of the Damodar Valley Corpo­ration may be useful in this direction 

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