Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government will register strong objection against the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) taking up the Mekedatu dam issue in its 14th meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi on September 24. The Tamil Nadu government has already informed the state legislative assembly on August 27, that the matter was sub judice.
Duraimurugan has informed the house that the Tamil Nadu government had approached the Supreme Court regarding the matter and a contempt plea was pending in the apex court.
Duraimurugan told IANS, "I had taken up the Mekedatu dam issue to Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Chauhan and when I came to know that the subject was in the agenda of CWMA, I called him over and sent a letter objecting to raising the matter as it was sub judice. The union minister assured me that it would not be taken up."
The CWMA chief, S.K. Halder had admitted before media persons on Tuesday that the Mekedatu dam issue was indeed an agenda in the CWMA meeting. However, stringent opposition from Tamil Nadu led to the shelving of the matter.
The Cauvery-Guntar river linking project was also set aside due to objection from the Karnataka side even though Tamil Nadu wanted to have a discussion on the same.
What is the Mekedatu project row about?
In early 2019, the Karnataka government had submitted a detailed project report to the Centre on its plans for the construction of a reservoir at Mekedatu in Ramanagara district, about 90km away from Bengaluru and 4km ahead of the border with Tamil Nadu, as per a report by Firstpost.
The key aim of the about Rs 9,000 crore project, Karnataka has maintained, is to ensure adequate drinking water supply for Bengaluru. Proposed to come up at the confluence of Cauvery with its tributary Arkavathi, the dam is expected to have a capacity of about 66 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water and would also generate 400MW of hydroelectric power when it becomes operational.
But leaders across the political spectrum in Tamil Nadu have expressed strong objection against the project as they said water received by Tamil Nadu through the first source will be stored in it and Karnataka will release only residual quantities of water to Tamil Nadu.
The disagreement between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the waters of the Cauvery go back to 1892 as there were fears that the upstream state would corner the lion's share of the water and leave the downstream state in a jeopardy, threatening its farmers.
Both sides are digging in heels, Karnataka insists it is within its rights to go ahead with the construction of the dam while Tamil Nadu is urging the Centre to not grant clearance to the project.
In the 13th meeting of the CWMA which was held on Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu government had strongly objected against Mekedatu dam issue being taken up. The Tamil Nadu water resources minister, S. Duraimurugan in a strongly worded letter to the CWMA said that the matter was sub-judice and that it could not be taken up for discussion.
Tamil Nadu has also moved the Supreme Court against the project reportedly under AIADMK CM and his predecessor Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Tamil Nadu had in the CWMA meeting represented that there was a shortfall in the release of water from Karnataka and that the state requires water in September as the Kuruvai and Samba cultivations were taking place this month.
However, Karnataka argued that they would have discussed this issue also during the Mekedatu dam discussion which was put aside due to the objection by the Tamil Nadu government.
Tamil Nadu Water Resource Minister Durai Murugan recently said the Union government has given the assurance that Karnataka government will not be granted the permission to construct the Mekedatu dam over the Cauvery river.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)