TN's letter to PM on Mekedatu project a "political stunt": Karnataka CM
Calling it "illegal" and "against the federal system", Basavaraj Bommai said, the neighbouring state's demand does not have any "locus standi" and the Centre will not consider it.
Published: 14th June 2022 04:02 PM | Last Updated: 14th June 2022 04:02 PM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday termed as a "political stunt" Tamil Nadu's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to restrain the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) from discussing the Mekedatu project in its meeting on June 17.
Calling it "illegal" and "against the federal system", he said, the neighbouring state's demand does not have any "locus standi" and the Centre will not consider it.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Monday sought Prime Minister's intervention to restrain the CWMA from discussing Karnataka's Mekedatu project proposal in its meeting.
Stalin said the scope of the functioning of the CWMA is limited to implementing the Supreme Court's verdict on the Cauvery issue and it cannot consider any other subject. Also, the matter is sub judice and Tamil Nadu's petitions in this regard are pending before the apex court.
"Regarding the Mekedatu project, the Central Water Commission (CWC), while receiving our DPR, had put forth a condition that it has to be approved by the Cauvery Water Management Authority, and accordingly it is now before the Board (CWMA) and several meetings have taken place," Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, when the matter is coming up before the Authority "for a finality", the neighbouring Tamil Nadu is creating issues.
"I have got information about Tamil Nadu writing a letter to the Prime Minister, and I got a copy of it. Their (TN) demand is illegal, against the federal system, and it is a conspiracy to misuse the water on which we have rights," he added.
Stalin, in his letter, requested the Prime Minister to instruct the Jal Shakti Ministry to advise the CWMA's chairman to desist from taking up any discussion on the Mekedatu project, till the issues are heard and decided by the Supreme Court.
Last week, the Tamil Nadu government had moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the CWMA restraining any discussion on the project at its meeting.
Clarifying that the Mekedatu project in no way involves Tamil Nadu's share of water, Bommai said, "it is on our share of water, within our state."
After a lot of procedures, things have reached a final stage now, he said, "Already 15 meetings have taken place, they (TN) did not raise any objections then, they showed non-cooperation by boycotting. It is nothing but a political stunt. There is always a political stunt on part of Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue."
For years Tamil Nadu has been doing politics over Cauvery issue, the CM further said, adding that, "this is just a continued part of it and it doesn't have any locus standi, it is not admissible legally, and the Centre will not consider the illegal letter."
"Already, CWC is seized of the matter and the Central Water Resources Ministry has already referred it. And meetings have taken place; procedures are in a final stage and we are confident about getting justice," he said, adding that Karnataka's representatives will take part in the meeting.
Leaders of the Congress, the principal opposition party in Karnataka, urged the state government to demonstrate its political will vis-a-vis the project.
Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Siddaramaiah said, "What they (TN) write is not important, there was no reason for them to raise objections, neither legally nor on any other grounds. Now they (BJP govt in K'taka) have to show a political will and get necessary clearances for the project from the centre."
Tamil Nadu will naturally write such letters for "political reasons", the former CM said, adding that "several times the matter has been adjourned in the past and decisions have not been taken. Looks like there is some pressure from the Centre as officials who have to decide are officials appointed by the central government."
Stressing on the need for commitment over "our rights over our share of water", state Congress President D K Shivakumar said, the government has to go ahead with the work on the project and that no permission is required from anyone.
"Let Tamil Nadu write any letter, you (Karnataka govt) take all party delegation (to Delhi). We will speak to the PM, Union Water Resources and Environment Ministers, if you can't," he added.
Mekedatu is a multi-purpose (drinking water and power) project proposed by Karnataka, which involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.
Neighbouring Tamil Nadu has been opposing the project, raising apprehensions that the state would 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, and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.