Karnataka government committed to implement Mekedatu project, hits out at Congress 'padayatra'
Accusing the grand old party of not doing anything for the implementation of the project while in power, he said, it had no moral right to stage a protest now.
BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said that his government was committed to implement the Mekedatu project across river Cauvery, as he hit out at the opposition Congress for staging 'padayatra' (foot march), demanding its quick implementation.
Accusing the grand old party of not doing anything for the implementation of the project while in power, he said, it had no moral right to stage a protest now. "Congress which was unable to implement the project during their tenure are protesting now, they could not even prepare a DPR for the Mekedatu project, now they are demanding immediate implementation of the project. We (BJP) have made progress during our tenure and are committed to implement the Mekedatu project and we will do it," Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said that the Congress has no moral right to protest or criticise the current government on the issue, as they did not do anything for the project during their tenure.
Hitting out at the Congress leaders for targeting the government and police for filing FIR against them, the Chief Minister said, "Law enforcing agencies have done their job, they (Congress leaders) are overreacting. You (Congress) had booked several cases against the opposition while in power, how many lathi- charges took place, there was a large-scale effort to suppress the opposition."
"You are a responsible national party...everyone has the right to protest in a democracy, in the same way everyone has to abide by law. This shows to what low the Congress has stooped to for the sake of politics and how desperate they are for power," he said.
An FIR has been registered against 38 people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, for holding the march on Sunday in violation of COVID-19 rules, which names Congress leaders like Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, among several others.
The prevailing COVID norms carry a ban on rallies, dharnas and protests. The padayatra, which has entered Bengaluru city, on its third day is covering a distance of 15.8 km to reach Jayadeva Junction in the city from near Kengeri.
This is the second leg of the march that ended abruptly in Ramanagara on January 13, when the third wave of the COVID-19 had peaked.
The 'padayatra 2.0' with the theme 'Namma Neeru, Namma Hakku' (Our water, Our right), that resumed on Sunday, will culminate at the National College Ground in Basavanagudi in Bengaluru on March 3, after covering a total distance of 79.8 kilometres.
Further stating that the Congress could have staged a protest at freedom park at the city centre, Bommai said, instead of that they are staging a padayatra for three days in the city, which will create traffic jams across the city.
"You are aware that if there is a traffic jam in one part of Bengaluru it will have its effect across, they (Congress) are aware of it, still they are putting people of the city in trouble, for their political benefit. Their padayatra will do no good for Bengaluru," he added.
The march is also being seen politically, keeping in mind the BBMP elections, with the padayatra covering about 15 assembly constituencies in the city in the days to come. The Mekedatu multi-purpose (drinking and power) project involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district, to which neighbouring Tamil Nadu is opposed.
The estimated Rs 9,000 crore project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and it can also generate 400 MW power.