Karnataka's plan of building a drinking water project on Cauvery river at Mekedatu has led to tensions with Tamil Nadu. Sharing of the river water has been a sore point between the neighbouring states for decades and has seen legal moves, protests and violence.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart - MK Stalin - earlier this month, asking for talks to clear the air on the Mekedatu project
"It would be in the interest of all concerned and to have a better relationship between the state of Karnataka and state of Tamil Nadu, if the Tamil Nadu government in the right spirit would not oppose the implementation of the project," he said.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister responded saying that Karnataka should not implement the project, underlining that it was against the interests of his state.
The opposition Congress in Karnataka, however, is backing the ruling BJP, with the state unit chief DK Shivakumar tweeting: "Today, as Union Minister of Jal Shakti Sri @GSSJodhpur will be conducting a meeting with CM Sri @BSYBJP, we hope that date of initiation of Mekedatu Project will be finalised. This project represents hope for Karnataka, and we expect CM will leave no stone unturned to fulfil it! (sic)"
Today,as Union Minister of Jal Shakti Sri @GSSJodhpur will be conducting a meeting with CM Sri @BSYBJP, we hope that date of initiation of Mekedatu Project will be finalised.— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) July 13, 2021
This project represents hope for Karnataka, and we expect CM will leave no stone unturned to fulfil it!
After the meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday with the Karnataka Chief Minister, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat said, "All the irrigation projects relating to Karnataka have been discussed. I have issued the Chief Minister and the state of Karnataka to look into the projects that are pending, specially the Mekedatu project and all other projects. We will look deep into the issues pertaining to the state of Karnataka and will organise a meeting in Delhi for that. I assure that justice will be given to the state of Karnataka."
When asked if there would be a solution to the tussle between the two states over this, the minister said, "Let us hope so. We will look into the details and sit together, with both the states. We will watch the interest of both the states and do the justice for both the states. We have to keep the balance, we have to satisfy everyone."
BS Yediyurappa said, "We have discussed in detail all the irrigation projects including Mekedatu - so definitely in the coming days we are going to complete all the things. He is ready to help us in all respects. I don't want to discuss about Tamil Nadu or any other state. We have got every right, we are going to start the work. "
Clearly, there is more confrontation ahead over river Cauvery between the two states.