State govt writes to TN for amicable solution to Mekedatu issue

From Our Special Correspondent

Daijiworld Media Network

Bengaluru, Dec 6: The JD(S)-Congress coalition government headed by chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday held a high level meeting with former chief ministers and former water resources ministers to discuss on taking forward the pending irrigation projects in the Krishna and Cauvery basins in the State.

Meanwhile, state’s water resources minister DK Shivakumar has written to Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami requesting him for a meeting for detailed discussions on the balancing reservoir project across the Cauvery river in Kanakapura proposed for catering drinking water needs of Bengaluru and Ramangara district.

Kumarawamy, who presided over the meeting of former chief ministers and water resource ministers in the state, called for expediting the pending water resources projects in the State.

Speaking to reports after the meeting, Shivakumar said the Mekadatu balancing reservoir project across the Cauvery river in Kanakapura was being considered only for the power needs of the state and not for irrigation.

“This project will help Tamil Nadu. Our benefit is just power resource. We will not take the water. This is our state’s right. We will not exploit this project for our own needs," he said.

He also told Tamil Nadu to not make the issue political and appealed to find an amicable solution in the interests of both states and its people.

Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday, moved a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against the Central Water Commission (CWC), Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited and Shivakumar for ‘wilful disobedience’ of the apex court order on Cauvery water sharing.

Slamming CWC and the Karnataka government for their actions permitting and supporting the preparation of a Detailed Project Report on the Mekedatu project, the Tamil Nadu petition said that these actions by the respondents - CWC, Cauvery Water Management Authority, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited and Government of Karnataka - are in ‘utter disregard’ to the SC order on the matter.

On February 16, 2018, the Supreme Court in its final order, upheld previous Cauvery agreements that no new dam be built across the river without the consent of the lower riparian state, Tamil Nadu.

Terming Cauvery river as a lifeline for the people of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Shivakumar’s letter to Tamil Nadu reads, “I wish to bring to your notice that the Government of Karnataka desires to have an amicable solution to the issue of the Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir cum Drinking Water Project.”

Claiming that the Mekedatu project will help in curbing the flow of excess water from Mettur dam into the sea, the letter also states, “It appears that some misconceptions about the proposed project have occurred in the minds of the government and people of Tamil Nadu though the actual reality of the project is different.”

Shivakumar also requested an appointment from the Tamil Nadu chief minister to “present the project details and also to have discussion as indicated above.”

Former chief ministers Siddaramaiah and Jagadish Shettar attended the meeting while former chief ministers B S Yeddyurappa, state BJP president and opposition leader in the state assembly, and D V Sadananda Gowda, who is an union miniter, did not attend.