Despite strong objections from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday said Karnataka has every right to build the Rs 9,000-crore Mekedatu dam across the Cauvery. He also stressed work on the controversial project would begin soon.
Yediyurappa’s statement comes a day after the all-party meeting called by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin condemned Karnataka’s move, besides urging the Centre to not give a green signal for the project.
“I do not want to discuss with Tamil Nadu or any other state. We have got every right and we are going to start the work,” Yediyurappa said after a discussion on various irrigation projects in Karnataka with Union Jalshakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
Yediyurappa said: “He has assured us to resolve all issues regarding providing clearances from the Centre for the implementation of the projects.”
The gazette notification of the Krishna Tribunal Award, Environment Ministry clearance for Mekedatu project, Upper Krishna Project, Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project, and implementation of Yettinahole project were some of the things discussed in the meeting.
“Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been submitted to Central Water Commission (CWC) and it has been referred to the Cauvery Monitoring Committee. The Union Minister is aware of the whole issue and has promised to look into and give justice to Karnataka,” Karnataka’s Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said.
Earlier, Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar tweeted, “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!”
Yediyurappa had earlier written to Stalin urging him not to oppose the Mekedatu project “in the right spirit” and offered to hold a bilateral meeting to address any issues. In response, Stalin had urged Yediyurappa not to go ahead with the Mekedatu project.
Karnataka maintains the project within its territory will benefit both the states as the surplus water stored can be managed between both of them during a distress year, and its implementation will in no way affect the interests of Tamil Nadu’s farmers.
While Tamil Nadu says the project would ‘impound and divert’ the uncontrolled water flow to Tamil Nadu from Kabini sub-basin, the catchment area below Krishnarajasagara, and also from Simsha, Arkavathy and Suvarnavathi sub-basins besides other small streams.
Also, according to Tamil Nadu, as per the Supreme Court verdict, no construction across Cauvery should be taken up without consulting the lower riparian states.
Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which 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 also can generate 400 MW power.