A view of the causeway-cum-bed dam in Then Pennaiyar. file | Photo Credit: SS Kumar
With the time limit fixed by the Supreme Court for the constitution of an inter-State river water disputes tribunal for the Pennaiyar river getting expired on Tuesday last, Tamil Nadu is waiting for the Centre’s next course of action.
In mid-December, the court gave the Center three months to constitute the tribunal to resolve the dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over constructions across the river. In 2018, Tamil Nadu filed an original suit against Karnataka constructing checkdams and diversionary structures on the river. The direction came after the Center had stated that Tamil Nadu’s complaint was referred to a Negotiation Committee, and there was “no likelihood of settlement by negotiation”. The Union government had also submitted that it was “likely to constitute a Tribunal to resolve the dispute between the two States”.
On November 30, 2019, Tamil Nadu formally requested the Union government to constitute a tribunal for adjudication of disputes over the waters of the river, also known as Thenpennai. In its complaint, Tamil Nadu objected to the construction of a checkdam across the Markandeya, a tributary of the Pennaiyar, by Karnataka.
According to those following the case in court, the matter, which was originally listed for March 14, did not come up that day. There is an expectation that it may be heard next Tuesday (March 21).