Wednesday, October 3, 2012

States to Discuss Setting Up a Forum to Settle Water Disputes

Amid growing disputes over water sharing, the Centre has proposed setting up a permanent forum to enable states evolve consensus on these sensitive issues.
Setting up of a ‘permanent forum of Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers of state governments’ is part of the agenda of a national level conference being held here tomorrow.
The 14th National Conference of Water Resources and Irrigation ministers of states and UTs is being held after a gap of seven years.
“ is, therefore, proposed to set up a permanent forum of Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers (of States) to deliberate on the issues related to water may be desirable to have a permanent forum at the national level to deliberate upon issues relating to water and evolve consensus, co-operation and reconciliation amongst states,” according to the agenda circulated to state governments.
With water being a state subject and UPA government repeatedly coming under attack from the opposition as well as allies over the issue of infringement of federal structure, the Centre also wants to use the proposed forum to discuss issues like water laws.
“Even while it is recognised that states have the right to frame suitable policies, laws and regulations on water, there is a felt need to evolve a broad overarching national legal framework of general principles on water to lead the way for essential legislation on water governance in every state,” said the agenda paper.
The issue of overarching national legal framework had come under attack from state governments when the Draft National Water Policy (2012) was being discussed earlier this year.

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