BENGALURU: A majority of the members of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Thursday opined that the authority is not competent for the technical examination of the Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir Project report. Since the Central Water Commission (CWC) is the competent authority, the proposal of the Mekedatu project may be reverted to it for further appraisal.
According to a note issued by the Deputy Chief Minister’s Office, at the CWMA meeting, Karnataka urged the authority to take up discussions and decisions on the Mekedatu project, without deferring the agenda. Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, however, objected to the discussion on the project.
The Chairman CWMA and Member Jal Shakti Ministry, opined that the matter related to Mekedatu is pending before the Supreme Court, however, there is no restrainment from the SC for deliberation on the project in the CWMA meeting. “An opinion of all the members CWMA was sought. A majority of the members (five) opined that the authority is not competent for technical examination of the project report and since the CWC is the competent authority, the proposal of the Mekedatu project may be reverted to it for further appraisal,” the note stated.
Karnataka had urged the authority to decide on the permissibility of the Mekedatu project to solve the problem during distress years permanently. The state had submitted that there are no restrictions or any impediments in the decision of the tribunal or the judgment of the Supreme Court on the construction of the Mekedatu project across River Cauvery in Karnataka. “Karnataka, duly emphasising the above facts, requested the authority to take an appropriate view/stand about the DPR of the Mekedatu project and forward its views to the CWC that the report does not infringe upon the provisions of the award/decision of the CWDT to enable Karnataka to obtain requisite clearances,” the note stated.
No directions for water release
In the meeting, Tamil Nadu urged the release of 18 TMC of water (inclusive of the backlog of 7.61 TMC) up to the end of May 2024. The CWMA, taking cognisance of the fact that the irrigation season has ended on January 31, 2024 (for this water year), and considering live storage in the reservoirs in both states, did not give any directions for water release from Karnataka.