Lessons From The Law
In this field, the role of law is one of facilitating and protecting the interests of agrarian community, keeping in mind the requirement fair distribution of limited resources, and timely availability of inputs at an affordable cost. Technological developments relating to irrigation fertilisers and insecticides were forerunners of green revolution at one stage. Big and small dams, bore wells and subsidised fertilisers and pesticides made huge contribution in changing the rain- dependent traditional gambling with nature into an economic process of certainty The objective of protection of environment and health is essentially relevant here although it was given low key treatment until recently.
A sustained and systematic development of major, medium and minor irrigation projects expanded the extent of irrigated land from 22.6 million ha in 1951 to 109 million ha in 2007. Cooperative federal- ism’s positive contribution through central assistance in the form of finance and technology to state irrigation projects and amicable relations amidst riparian states of Inter-State rivers in the matter of sharing of resources and joint management of Inter-State river projects have significant constitutional dimensions in bringing this change for better. The principles relating to allocation of water resources amidst riparian status, although emphasise on equitable apportionment concept, need to be sensitised by the constitutional principles relating to reducing the income disparities among groups of people residing in different areas Article 38(2) and distribution of material resources of the community to subserve the common good 1Artice 39 () In view of the fact that irrigation is a key to change the land use and economic security, and harbinger of prosperity, its potentiality for economic transformation requires objective consideration. The resolutions of Inter-State water disputes through adjudication have been found to be dilatory, expensive and cumbersome in addition to being politically sensitive. The, Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1996 has enabled constitution of the tribunals for resolving the Inter-State water
disputes. The River Board Act, 1956 that envisages cooperative efforts and participation of riparian states in the joint management of resources for multi- purpose use has not been implemented. However, post-award supervision, effectuation and monitoring of tribunal’s recommendations through river-specific authorities have been used. An integrated approach based on constitutional values is very much needed. What is stated by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final report in 2007 is worth remembering, “It would be appreciated that there is no control of human being on the happenings in nature and we have only to make an attempt to make beneficial use of the available quantum of flows in any year and distribute the same for the benefit of the basin as a whole by integrating the release from different storage reservoirs”.