BENGALURU: In what could dent the Karnataka Government’s confidence regarding the Mekedatu balancing reservoir project, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said that the project cannot progress without the consent of all riparian states.
Responding to a question raised by JDS’ lone MP in the Lok Sabha, Prajwal Revanna, Shekhawat said that Karnataka’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project cannot be considered for further assessment until it gets clearance from the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA). The Union Minister’s response comes as a setback to Karnataka, especially at a time when Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has termed the protests against the project in Tamil Nadu - even by his own party colleagues - as ‘politically motivated’.
The JDS MP sought to know why Karnataka needed Tamil Nadu’s permission to go ahead with the project since no such clause was mentioned in the Cauvery Tribunal’s orders. Shekhawat, who had visited Karnataka earlier this month, had said the project will need the consent of all stakeholders.
“When Karnataka submitted the PFR (Pre-feasibility report) for Mekedatu dam, it was given conditional permission to go ahead with the DPR. The very first condition was that the DPR should have CWMA permission. Since the project is proposed along an inter-state river basin, the Interstate River Water Disputes Act mandates permission from all lower riparian states and stakeholders. It is not possible to consider the Mekedatu DPR for further assessment without CWMA permission,” Shekhawat told Parliament.
He added that the project hasn’t received environmental clearance as well, since his department hasn’t received any related files. “Even if Karnataka assumes environmental clearance as ‘deemed’, it will still need CWMA approval,” Shekhawat said.