BENGALURU: Karnataka reached out to Tamil Nadu on Thursday as part of its efforts to clear the “misconceptions” in Tamil Nadu about the Mekedatu drinking water project and pave the way for its speedy implementation for the benefit of both the states. However, Karnataka has made it clear that the state is well within its rights to go ahead with the project.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar has in a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami requested for an appointment to present the project details and also to have discussions.
“River Cauvery is the lifeline of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and is very sacred for the people of both the states. Governments and people of both the states desire to have a permanent solution on the issues pertaining to the Cauvery,” Shivakumar has said in the letter.
Shivakumar said,”The government of Karnataka desires to have an amicable solution to the issue of Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project. Further, this project will also help in regulating the releases in such a judicious manner that the excess water during good monsoon season is not allowed to flow from the Mettur dam into the sea unnecessarily as has happened during the current year.”
The minister’s letter has come apparently in response to Tamil Nadu’s legal action as the neighboring state has filed a contempt petition in Supreme Court against Central Water Commission (CWC), Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited and Shivakumar alleging ‘wilful disobedience’ of the SC order on Cauvery water sharing. The CWC has approved feasibility report submitted by Karnataka on Mekedatu project and has asked the state to submit a Detailed Project Report.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy held a meeting with former Chief Ministers, Water Resources ministers and legal experts on the Mekedatu project where leaders cutting across party lines expressed solidarity with the state government to go ahead with the project.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Shivakumar said, “Karnataka is well within its rights to implement the project as it is meant only for the power and drinking water needs of Karnataka and not for irrigation as deemed by Tamil Nadu.”
Shivakumar reiterated Karnataka’s commitment to ensure release of Tamil Nadu’s share of water. Karnataka has to release 177.25 tmcft Cauvery water annually to Tamil Nadu. “But whenever we received good rains like the current year, about 395tmcft water flows into Tamil Nadu and they use only 150 tmcft. The rest 250 tmcft goes waste as it flows into the sea.”
He also reminded Tamil Nadu that Karnataka had no control over the release of water with the Cauvery Water Management Authority taking control of water releases.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah said that there is no legal hurdle for Karnataka to take up the project. He termed Tamil Nadu’s opposition to the project as politically motivated.