NEW DELHI: As the Karnataka elections approaches a fever pitch of political barbs and bickering, the Supreme Court order for implementation of a Cauvery Water Management scheme remains unexecuted. The Supreme Court came down heavily on the Centre today, stating that it was in ‘sheer contempt’ of the February judgment on the issue.

Last week, the apex court had inquired about the status of the scheme with Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, who stated that the Cabinet was unable to meet due to the unavailability of the Prime Minister and the ongoing elections in Karnataka.

Protests have erupted in Tamil Nadu in response to the alleged negligence of the Centre which is being accused of appeasing for electoral gains. Yesterday, poll-bound Karnataka had submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court that it was unable to release any more water and that the year had been ‘a distress water year in the Cauvery basin’.

The combination of these events have led many to believe that the Centre is now actively skirting the orders of the apex court in order to gain electoral mileage for the Karnataka elections taking place next week.

Speaking to The Citizen, MP A. Naveenathakrishnan of the AIADMK who represents Tamil Nadu at the Rajya Sabha, stated “The present central government is willfully delaying due to the Karnataka elections. Already, the case is going through a lot of delay and now the central government must uphold the rule of law.”

Earlier in the month of March, Naveenathakrishnan had gone on to say in the Rajya Sabha that the MPs of the AIADMK would commit suicide if the Centre failed to implement the water management scheme as instructed by the Supreme Court.

In another statement, Professor S. Janakrajan of the Madras Institute of Developmental Studies, who has authored the ‘Cauvery Family’, an initiative to bring farmers from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to have a one-on-one dialogue stated, “The judiciary is not being respected. If a common man disobeys the Supreme Court, then instantly, he is punished but when the government of India disobeys the Supreme Court, what do you do? All the functions of democracy will be disrupted and it will be a mockery.”

He further said, “People will lose faith in the judiciary as it being ineffective. This is why many people in Tamil Nadu and the southern region raise the issue of regional identity. These people are in fear and are insecure that their demands are not being met.”

The Supreme Court has now summoned the Union Water Resources Secretary, Upendra Prasad Singh, on May 14 at 10:30 AM and instructed him to arrive with a draft scheme on the Cauvery water management dispute.

(Main Photo: Cauvery River. Credit: Ashwin Kumar)