Kerala to constitute a 3-tier panel to advise govt on inter-state river water issues

The new 3-tier panel would replace the existing Inter-State Water Advisory Committee  

With river water sharing always proving to be a bone of contention between states, it has become imperative for administrations to seek novel methods to address such hassles that keep cropping up from time to time. In a bid to provide advice related to water-sharing issues, the Kerala government has decided to constitute a three-tier committee.

The three-tier panel would provide the necessary views and advice to the government to take quick and accurate decisions on issues related to inter-state river water disputes. The constituents of the three-tier committee would include the Interstate Rivers Strategic Council, the Interstate Rivers Monitoring Committee, and the Interstate Rivers Legal Technology Cell.

The Kerala cabinet said that the new panel would replace the existing Inter-State Water Advisory Committee.

The Chief Minister will be the chairman and the Minister of Water Resources will be the vice-chairman of the Inter-State River Strategic Council, one of the constituents of the three-tier panel. The Ministers of Forests and Energy, four MLAs and two MPs related to the proposed project area will be members of this council. Besides, the panel has also roped in the state Chief Secretary and the Secretary of the Water Resources Department as members.

Panel to strive to protect public interest in water disputes

The Inter-State River Strategic Council will have the power to spell out policy decisions that would help in protecting the public interest of Kerala in inter-state river water issues. The council will be empowered to take effective steps that would aid in proceeding with the cases pending before the Supreme Court or the Inter-State River Tribunal. It will also be responsible for closely monitoring the construction and operation of new projects involving inter-state river water disputes and making recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Inter-State River Water Monitoring Committee, which will be chaired by the state Chief Secretary, will have the Secretaries of Water Resources, Energy, Revenue, Forests, Agriculture and Law departments as members. Besides, this committee will also have the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) Chairman and the Chief Engineer of Inter-State Rivers as members.

Renewal of river water contracts in a timely manner

The Inter-State River Water Monitoring Committee would be responsible for assisting the State Committee in formulating policy decisions on inter-state river water issues. It will also be empowered to take steps to renew river water contracts in a timely manner and to evaluate construction activities and ensure interventions.

The Inter-State Rivers Legal Technical Cell, which is the third constituent of the three-tier committee, would be responsible for providing necessary legal advice to the Inter-State River Strategic Council and the Monitoring Committee on inter-state river water issues.

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