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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Palaniswami urges Centre to reject Karnataka’s Mekedatu reservoir project

Mekedatu is upstream of the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu, which is worried that the reservoir would deprive the state of its share of water from the Cauvery, which is already an emotive issue.

karnataka Updated: Oct 11, 2019 12:56 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Palaniswami in his letter to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday termed Karnataka’s steps to build a reservoir as “ex-facie untenable and ought to be rejected outright.”
Palaniswami in his letter to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday termed Karnataka’s steps to build a reservoir as “ex-facie untenable and ought to be rejected outright.”(PTI File)
         

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has once again written to the Centre urging it to reject Karnataka’s proposal of building a reservoir and drinking water project across the Cauvery River in Mekedatu.

Palaniswami in his letter to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday termed Karnataka’s steps to build a reservoir as “ex-facie untenable and ought to be rejected outright.”

Mekedatu is upstream of the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu, which is worried that the reservoir would deprive the state of its share of water from the Cauvery, which is already an emotive issue.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects had deferred the proposal of Karnataka’s Mekedatu project in its July 19 meeting.

“It has been brought to the notice of Tamil Nadu that Karnataka has again approached the EAC for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects seeking approval of the terms of reference for Mekedatu Project,” the AIADMK leader pointed out in his letter.

Palaniswami wrote about pending court cases in the matter. He said the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the Supreme Court “have found that the existing storage facilities available in the Cauvery Basin are adequate for storing and distributing water to the lower riparian states as per the monthly schedule prescribed by it.”

He also pointed out that the concurrence of Tamil Nadu and of other co-basin states has not been obtained by Karnataka for the project.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu once again reiterates its strong objections to the project proposal of Karnataka, as it has no right to construct any reservoir on an inter-State river without the consent of the lower riparian states including Tamil Nadu,” he said.

The Mekedatu project concerns the construction of a dam at Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk in Ramanagara district on the Cauvery at a projected cost of Rs 5,912 crore to store 66 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water. It will provide drinking water to Bengaluru, Ramanagara and surrounding districts of southern Karnataka. Around 400 megawatts of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.

The previous Siddaramaiah led Congress government had in 2013 decided to go ahead with the project and had sought the CWC’s approval. However, the Tamil Nadu government and then chief minister J Jayalalithaa had written to the Centre opposing the project.

Palaniswami asked the ministers to pass instructions to the committee not to entertain the proposal of Karnataka.

“The EAC for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects should reject Karnataka’s request to reject the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Karnataka seeking grant of Terms of Reference to conduct Environment Impact Access (EIA)/Environment Management Plan (EMP) Report for Mekedatu Project,” EPS wrote.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president and Tamil Nadu’s leader of the opposition, MK Stalin, had urged Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa to drop the Mekedatu project on October 6.

Stalin said its continuation could impact the cordial relationship between the two states and asked the Karnataka CM to drop the project. His comment came two days after Karnataka government wrote to the Centre rejecting Tamil Nadu’s concerns over the dam as irrelevant,

This is the second time the Tamil Nadu government has opposed the project in a letter to Javadekar stating that construction of the new dam would cause environmental hazards.

The Union ministry had sought Karnataka’s response to Tamil Nadu’s allegation.

Karnataka in its response to the Centre said that a planned hydropower plant along with the dam project will “actually ease” its ability to share Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 12:56 IST

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