The Centre has brought the Cauvery Water Management Authority under the Jal Shakti Ministry, a move that invited the ire of opposition parties in Tamil Nadu with the DMK claiming it will cripple the body's autonomy and warned of protests if it was not rescinded.
However, the AIADMK government, backing the Centre, said the action was purely administrative in nature which would have no bearing on the functioning of the CWMA, which was set up to address disputes over sharing of the river water among the riparian states, including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Officials in Delhi said the decision was a mere formality that specifies allocation of business, which means the authority will have to report to the Jal Shakti Ministry, and the move will have no impact on the independent nature of its functioning.
The principal opposition DMK targeted the AIADMK government alleging it compromised on the rights of Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue at several stages.
DMK chief M K Stalin, on his twitter handle alleged that the Central government has made the CWMA as well a "pawn" in the hands of the Jal Shakti Ministry.
"Protest demonstration will be held if the move that will cripple the autonomy of CWMA is not rescinded," he said tagging a gazette notification on the move.
Rebutting the allegations, the state government said the Centre's move was completely an administrative step and a usual practice which would in no way impact or alter -either the powers or activities- of both the CWMA and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.
This has also been confirmed from the Centre and farmers, who are dependent on the Cauvery waters, will not be affected in any way due to the Union government's move, it asserted in a statement.
Congress, an ally of the DMK too wanted the Centre to reverse the move and warned of a protest.
State Congress president K S Alagiri said his party will be forced to rally theCauvery delta farmers and organise protest demonstrations.
The Central government officials said the CWMA was earlier under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
However, with the Modi government forming the Jal Shakti Ministry to deal with water-related issues, the Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken the form of a department under it.
Water management authorities of other rivers too have been brought under the Jal Shakti Ministry as they were also under the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, an official said.
In 2018, the Centre constituted the CWMA to address the dispute over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
Besides the members of riparian states, the board also has a nominee of the Centre.
The last meeting of the CWMA took place in February.