This Article is From Mar 06, 2022

Karnataka Chief Minister Says Will Convene All-Party Meet On Mekedatu Project

The estimated Rs 9,000 crore Mekedatu multipurpose (drinking and power) project involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.

Karnataka Chief Minister Says Will Convene All-Party Meet On Mekedatu Project

Karnataka Chief Minister said he would visit New Delhi regarding the projects. (FILE)


Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said he would convene an all party meeting during the ongoing Assembly session regarding the contentious Mekedatu balancing reservoir project on the Cauvery river.

He also said he would visit New Delhi regarding the Mekedatu and Krishna projects.

"I am going to convene an all party meeting when the Assembly session is on and also I will visit New Delhi regarding Mekedatu and Krishna projects. I will meet the Union Water Resource Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat," Mr Bommai told reporters.

To a query on the Centre's mediation to clear the Mekedatu balancing reservoir project, Mr Bommai said he has already spoken to Mr Shekhawat to clear the detailed project report for Mekedatu.

He said he has apprised the union minister that the project has to be approved as per law.

Mr Shekhawat on Saturday said the Centre is ready to facilitate talks between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river.

The minister was in Bengaluru for the southern states' conclave on the 'Jal Jeevan Mission' and 'Swachh Bharat Mission' (Rural) Projects.

"We are in the process of doing that...I can't assure you how long it will take as consensus has to be built," Mr Shekhawat said in response to a question whether the Centre would make the two states sit together regarding Mekedatu.

"By sitting together, any sort of problem can be addressed. I wish all stakeholder states can sit together and address the issue so that this year onward the new Mekedatu project can see the light of day,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and JD(S) second-in-command HD Kumaraswamy alleged that the Centre is shirking its responsibility 'by labelling it a dispute'.

In a series of tweets, Kumaraswamy accused the BJP of giving a new twist to the Cauvery issue.

"The Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said that Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should resolve the Mekedaatu drinking water project through a dialogue. With the Minister calling it a "dispute", he has added the label "crisis", to the project," the JD(S) leader charged.

"In my view, asking the two states to come to a unanimous decision on the drinking water project is an attempt by the Centre shirking its responsibility of giving a legal approval for Mekedatu project as per the federal aspiration," he added.

Accusing the Congress and the BJP of beginning an electoral game by raising the Mekedatu issue, Mr Kumaraswamy stated that the contentious project which is entangled in legal hassles and pending before the Central Water Commission (CWC), can be implemented only through exerting pressure on the Central government.

"Now Shekhawat says that it is for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to decide on the Mekedatu project through talks. Does it mean that the Central government has no role in giving approval to the project?" the former chief minister sought to know.

Stating that using its share of water and providing drinking water to its people by implementing the Makedatu is Karnataka's right, Mr Kumaraswamy wondered what was the inner meaning of Shekhawat asking the states to solve the issue among themselves.

"Is BJP giving a new twist to the Cauvery issue?" the JD(S) leader asked.

He also wondered whether the Congress would prevail upon its alliance partner Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which is in power in Tamil Nadu, to exert pressure on the Central government.

The Congress on February concluded its 'Walk For Water' march from Ramanagara to Bengaluru demanding the commencement of Mekedatu balancing reservoir project, which is located in Kanakapura, the home constituency of Congress state president DK Shivakumar.

In 2019, the Karnataka government had submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the Central Water Commission (CWC), which was then referred to the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) where it is stuck currently as Tamil Nadu, which is the lower riparian state, has opposed the project.

Karnataka has maintained that the project within its territory will benefit both states as the surplus water stored can be managed between the two during the distress years, and its implementation will in no way affect the interests of Tamil Nadu's farming communities, as there will be no impact on its share of water.

The neighbouring state is of the view that the project would "impound and divert" the uncontrolled water flow due to Tamil Nadu from Kabini sub-basin, the catchment area below Krishnarajasagara, and also from Shimsha, Arkavathi and Suvarnavathi sub-basins besides other small streams.

The estimated Rs 9,000 crore Mekedatu multipurpose (drinking and power) project involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district. The project, once completed, is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and can also generate 400 megawatts of power.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)