Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has categorically ruled out any scope for talks with Karnataka over the proposed construction of a reservoir in Mekedatu across River Cauvery.
Tamil Nadu CM Stalin had indicated this in no uncertain terms while talking to reporters at Delhi airport on Monday (July 19). Replying to a question posed to him on whether Tamil Nadu (TN) will participate in any discussions on Mekedatu with its erstwhile neighouring state, Stalin said, “No scope for talks (with Karnataka). Our Water Resources Minister (Durai Murugan) has made clear our stand (on talks).”
Media reports stated that Stalin also pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured him Karnataka will not be allowed to go ahead with the project. His statement that there was no room for discussion on the Mekedatu project comes in the wake of an invitation extended by Karnataka counterpart B S Yediyurappa for a meeting to “clear any doubts” on the project, reported Deccan Herald.
Yediyurappa had 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. Stalin had replied urging Yediyurappa not to go ahead with the Mekedatu project.
Not agreeing or refusing the offer for talks, Stalin had pointed out that another reservoir across river Cauvery just before the water enters Tamil Nadu will interrupt the natural flow of water.
Asked about Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s assertions that the dam would be built at any cost, Stalin said the TN government is confident that the initiative cannot progress based on the assurances of the Prime Minister and Jal Shakti Minister. “The matter is also in the Supreme Court. We will face it legally,” he remarked, said an Economic Times report.
Meanwhile, the TN government had stepped up its efforts to block the reservoir project. A delegation from the state assembly had met Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who had assured them that Karnataka cannot go ahead since the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the state on the Mekedatu project will “not be accepted”, as it was done “unilaterally.”
TN is against the project since the construction of a new reservoir across Cauvery is against the final award by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) and the 2018 verdict by the Supreme Court. Also, 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.
However, Karnataka maintained that they do not require permission and they will go ahead with the project.