Duraimurugan also sought to remind Shivakumar the proposed project in Karnataka found no mention in the Cauvery disputes tribunal order or in the Supreme Court's final verdict.

Cauvery issue again? Karnataka move on Mekedatu reservoir has TN on the boil

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The Tamil Nadu government and political parties like the AIADMK are upset over Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar’s remark that they will build a dam across the Cauvery at Mekedatu and warned him that TN will oppose it at all levels.

The Tamil Nadu government strongly opposed the remarks made by DKS, who also holds the Karnataka irrigation portfolio, that his state is going ahead with the construction of a reservoir across river Cauvery at Mekedatu. And, the TN  minister for water resources, Duraimurugan, expressed his surprise over the way Shivakumar was “resorting to teasing the neighbouring state within days of being sworn in”.

‘Teasing a neighbouring state’

Issuing a statement in Chennai, the veteran DMK leader said, “I am surprised that Shivakumar is resorting to teasing a neighbouring state within days of being sworn-in (as deputy CM). I believe the officials have not explained the full details of Mekedatu.”

The senior most minister in the TN state cabinet after chief minister (CM) M K Stalin, was responding to reports in a section of media that claimed Shivakumar expressed his government’s resolve to construct the balancing reservoir across the inter-state Cauvery at Mekedatu.

Duraimurugan also sought to remind Shivakumar the proposed project in Karnataka found no mention in the Cauvery disputes tribunal order or in the Supreme Court’s final verdict.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been locked in a dispute over the sharing of river water.

Also read: Will respond promptly, correctly to TNs opposition to discuss Mekedatu project, says Karnataka CM

The said project or any other unapproved construction will affect Tamil Nadu’s interests, Duraimurugan pointed out, adding that it is not welcome to say that the reservoir will be constructed in the uncontrolled intermediate catchment area where TN has its rights.

“Tamil Nadu will oppose at all levels, if Karnataka plans to construct the reservoir at Mekedatu. Soon there will be an opportunity to meet you. I think the issue can be discussed in detail then. I think honourable Shivakumar will remain patient till then,” Duraimurugan told the neighbouring state’s deputy CM.

Mekedatu multi-purpose project

The Mekedatu multi-purpose (drinking and power) project involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district of Karnataka.

The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and generating 400 MW power. The estimated cost of the project is ₹9,000 crore.

Incidentally, Shivakumar, who represents Kanakapura, had undertaken a padayatra (foot-march) in January last year, demanding for the implementation of the project. His party, the Congress, was in the Opposition then.

Also read: Why there’s a flurry of action in Mekedatu project again

AIADMK warns of protests

Meanwhile, the Opposition AIADMK in Tamil Nadu warned neighbouring Karnataka of protests if it went ahead with the construction of the Mekedatu dam project, which the party sees as an attempt to “transform TN into a desert”.

Taking strong exception to the reported remark of Karnataka deputy CM Shivakumar on going ahead with the reservoir project across the Cauvery river, leader of the Opposition K Palaniswami said the neighbouring state should not act against the interest of the lower riparian states.

As per the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, Karnataka has no right to prevent or alter the natural course of a river. Even the final verdict on the Cauvery water dispute is clear that no irrigation project should be taken up without the approval of the lower riparian states, Palaniswami said in a statement in Chennai.

Also Watch|Decoding ecological impact of the Mekedatu Dam project

This being the case, the announcement of the Congress government in Karnataka goes against the interest of Tamil Nadu, claimed Palaniswami. Any move to build the reservoir project across the Cauvery at Mekedatu would only transform Tamil Nadu, dependent on Cauvery water for irrigation and drinking, into a desert.

Further, he added that there’s no point in depending on the ruling DMK in TN on the issue. “The AIADMK strongly condemns the attempt of Karnataka Congress government to build a dam at Mekedatu and warns the Karnataka government that the AIADMK will organise protests to prevent Tamil Nadu from turning into a desert,” Palaniswami asserted.

CPI condemns dam construction

CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, too condemned the attempt to build the dam and said the final verdict in the Cauvery disputes is clear that no construction should be taken up across the Cauvery river without the approval of Kerala, Puducherry and TN.

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