Karnataka to continue legal battle on Mekedatu project across Cauvery river

Bengaluru: Karnataka will continue its legal battle on implementation of Mekedatu project across river Cauvery, Law Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Monday, as Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart urging him not to object to it, did not elicit a positive response.

However, the Opposition Congress has termed Yediyurappa’s move of writing a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin regarding Mekedatu project as ‘wrong’.

“Tamil Nadu has objected to all our projects from KRS to till now.As the government has changed there, our intention was to make them aware that this project was aimed at drinking water and power to Karnataka, and to manage water between both states during distress year,” Bommai said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the tone and tenor of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s response to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s letter was not appropriate.

“We have been fighting for Karnataka’s rights in the Cauvery basin and have been successful, this matter is also before the Supreme Court, we are putting forward our case.We will continue our legal battle for our rights.We are confident of winning it and completing the Mekedatu project,” he said, adding that the state will also get required approvals and clearances from the Centre.

Yediyurappa on Saturday wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart 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 on Sunday urged Yediyurappa not to pursue the Mekedatu project, as he rejected Karnataka’s stand that implementation of the project would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers.

Stating that Tamil Nadu has the right to ask for its share of water as per the tribunal’s order, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Siddaramaiah said: “However, we need not ask for their permission to construct a “balancing reservoir within our territory”.

“Yediyurappa writing a letter to Stalin (TN CM) was wrong, he (TN CM) will naturally oppose it. We need not ask them, without asking we can go ahead with our work. While we (Congress) were in power, we had sent to the Centre (seeking necessary approvals), put pressure on the centre, take necessary approvals and go ahead,” he added.

State Congress President D K Shivakumar too termed Yediyurappa writing a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister as “outrageous” and reflection of a lack of political will.

“After Hon’ble SC had unequivocally stated in its Constitutional Bench judgement that a State need not seek permission from another riparian State for its projects, Karnataka CM seeking permission from TN CM is outrageous.It is a clear reflection of a lack of political will,” he tweeted.

“When Congress was in power in Karnataka, we had already begun the process of floating tenders for Mekedatu project.Why couldn’t the CM simply carry on with the same process and give out tenders? Being misinformed is one thing, lacking intent is another,” he added.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy asked the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to take a decision on the Mekedatu project with a sense of magnanimity considering Kannadigas as brothers, and thereby cooperate in ensuring cordial relationship between both states.

“It is the responsibility of Karnataka to provide TN’s share of water as per the tribunal’s order.It is our opinion that we should be like brothers.They (TN) also should not forget that farmers of both states are like brothers. The intention behind the Mekedatu project is to store excess water that is going into the sea and it will be beneficial to both states,” he said.

Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.

Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing it, raising apprehensions that the state will be affected if the project takes shape.

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. The estimated cost is Rs 9,000 crore.

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