Krishna Raja Sagara Dam
Cauvery water dispute: Centre constitutes high-level technical team to assess situation in river basin. In picture: Krishna Raja Sagara Dam built on Cauvery river.IANS File Photo

Even as Karnataka blinked and agreed to release some water to Tamil Nadu following a Supreme Court order on October 4 which accompanied a stern warning from the apex court, the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a high-level technical team which has been tasked with visiting the Cauvery river's basin area to assess the ground realities. 

The ministry, in a statement released on Wednesday, said that the group will be headed by Central Water Commission (CWC) Chairman GS Jha, who has been appointed as chairman of this team as well. The other members of the team include CWC Member (Water Planning and Projects) S Masood Husain, the CWC's Krishna and Godavari Basin Organisation Chief Engineer RK Gupta, and the chief secretaries or their representative from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

The team will also include one chief engineer, each from the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala besides one from the Union Territory of Puducherry.

According to the official statement from the ministry, the team will congregate for the first time in Bengaluru at 9:30 am on October 7 "for a preparatory meeting and subsequent visit to the Cauvery basin area for assessing the ground realities and submit a report to the Supreme Court on October 17."

The ministry said, "The chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been requested to confirm their participation or send names of their representatives and also send the names of concerned chief engineer, and direct the concerned officers to reach Bengaluru by October 6."

"The chief secretaries of Kerala and Puducherry have also been requested to send the names of the concerned chief engineer and direct them to reach Bengaluru by October 6," the ministry added.

The need for this technical team has arisen from repeated claims by Karnataka that there is not enough water in the KRS dam on the Cauvery river to give to Tamil Nadu, and claims by Tamil Nadu that it was not receiving enough water for its farmers to properly irrigate their fields.