Cauvery Water Management Authority gets full-time chairman

Saumitra Kumar Haldar, now the head of the Central Water Commission, has been made CWMA’s chairman.

More than three years after its establishment, the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) has got a full-time chairman. Saumitra Kumar Haldar, now the head of the Central Water Commission (CWC), has been made CWMA’s chairman.

This has been approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, according to a circular issued by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on Monday.

Since the Authority was constituted in June 2018, the Centre assigned addtional charge as the CWMA’s chief to those who held the post of CWC chairman – S. Masood Husain and R. K. Jain, apart from Mr. Haldar himself, who chaired a meeting of the Authority in New Delhi on Monday. In December 2018, Tamil Nadu even approached the Supreme Court, challenging this arrangement of the Centre and seeking the appointment of a full time chairman.

Mr. Haldar will hold the post of CWMA chairman for five years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. He will be on deputation to the Authority till November 30, when he reaches the age of retirement, after which he will be re-employed on contract basis for the remaining period of his tenure.

A degree holder in engineering from the Government Engineering College, Jabalpur, Mr. Haldar held various positions in the CWC. Before becoming the chief of the Commission, he was Member – Water Planning & Projects (WP&P). He handled various inter-State matters such as Bansagar Dam, coordination and management of resources of the Narmada river basin for ensuring compliance of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal’s award and regulation of water resources of Godavari and Krishna basins, in addition to the execution of Polavaram irrigation project. He was also associated with overall supervision of operation and maintenance of the main Farakka Barrage as part of the implementation of the 1996 India-Bangladesh Treaty on the Ganga. In March 2014, he led the Indian team to Bangladesh for a meeting of the Joint River Commission in Dhaka.

As the head of the CWMA, Mr. Haldar will have a casting vote in the event of a tie. Two whole time Members – Water Resources and Agriculture – have been appointed to the Authority, which is also having a dedicated Member Secretary, points out a senior official in Chennai.

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