The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday unanimously demanded the Union Government to withdraw the permission given to Karnataka to prepare a detailed project report or DPR for a proposed dam across the Cauvery at Mekedatu, in yet another face off between the neighbouring states over sharing of river water.
A special session of the state Assembly passed a resolution moved by Chief Minister K Palaniswami after a brief discussion where political parties across the spectrum came together to register their opposition to the proposed project about 110 km from Bengaluru.
The resolution urged the Union Government to direct Karnataka government "not to take up any construction works by it or through its agencies at Mekedatu or at any other place in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka State without the consent of Tamil Nadu.
The session was convened after demands by the opposition parties led by the DMK. DMK chief M K Stalin termed the Centre giving green signal for preparing the project reports as "autocratic."
Tamil Nadu suspects that with the proposed project the neighbouring state intends to extend the area under irrigation that will deprive its farmers their due share of Cauvery water. The state government has said that the proposed project violates the order of the Cauvery Tribunal.
Karnataka has been trying to allay such fears but with little success. Karnataka Irrigation Minister D K Shivakumar said he was shocked by Tamil Nadu's opposition to the project and maintained the proposed dam is in the interest of the neighbouring state.
"Karnataka is building a dam in Mekedatu for the interest of Tamil Nadu. 177 TMC of water has to be given to them. This year 450 TMC of water has been gone in the river. They could utilize only 150 TMC of water. The rest of has been gone to the sea. We want storage to be kept. It is a balancing reservoir 95 percent from our cost, we are helping them to protect of the interest of Tamil Nadu", he said.
The BJP too has come out in strongly against the project. The state BJP chief Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan said the go ahead for Mekedatu project is unacceptable. Mr Radhakrishnan is the lone BJP Lok Sabha member from the state.
Analysts see the project as an attempt by the BJP-led NDA government to woo voters in Karnataka ahead of national elections early next year.
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