CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin, who chaired an all-party meeting on the Mekedatu-dam issue on Monday, explained how the new project planned by the Karnataka government would affect Tamil Nadu. In his lengthy speech, Stalin recalled Tamil Nadu’s decades-long legal battle to establish its rights on its share of Cauvery water.“Not just Karnataka, Tamil Nadu too has full rights on Cauvery water as the river flows through Tamil Nadu along a longer stretch than through Karnataka. We have also legally established our rights on Cauvery water,” Stalin said.
Giving a detailed account of how the proposed dam would affect Tamil Nadu, Stalin said: “Karnataka is supposed to release Cauvery water from three sources: 1) The water flowing in the areas downstream River Kabini, catchment areas of Krishnarajasagar reservoir, the sub-basins of Shimsha, Arkavathi, and Suvarnavathi rivers, and the water from minor rivers; 2) water released from Kabini dam; 3) water released from Krishnarajasagar dam.”
As the second and third sources are under the control of Karnataka, water could be released to Tamil Nadu only after storing sufficient water for their use. “But, since there is no dam on the first source, water from this area has been reaching Tamil Nadu so far without any hindrance. Now, Karnataka is conspiring to block this source also in the guise of Mekedatu dam,” the chief minister pointed out.
He said that Karnataka had been failing to release the Cauvery water due to Tamil Nadu. “If another dam also comes up there, how would the water come to Tamil Nadu?” he asked and pointed out that during floods, Karnataka released only surplus water to Tamil Nadu and did not give water as per the specifications given by the Cauvery tribunal and in the Supreme Court verdict.
“In this backdrop, if Karnataka builds a new dam at Mekedatu with a storage capacity of 67.16 tmcft, the future of Tamil Nadu farmers will become a question mark. The claim of Karnataka that the new dam would be built for meeting the drinking water requirements of Bengaluru is not true and it is aimed at cheating Tamil Nadu,” Stalin added.
“If the new dam is built, water received by Tamil Nadu through the first source will be stored in it and Karnataka will release only residual quantities of water to Tamil Nadu. This is the reason we are opposing a new dam at Mekedatu. Tamil Nadu government is firm that it will not allow a new dam at Mekedatu,” Stalin asserted.
Stalin underlined the fact that Karnataka was trying to build a dam on Cauvery river at Mekedatu, a place just four kilometer away from Tamil Nadu border, and rubbished that State’s claim that such a dam would not affect Tamil Nadu. “That is not true at all. As such, we have to stall all efforts of the Karnataka government to build this new dam,” Stalin added. Stalin also explained that just ahead of Mekedatu, Arkavathi river flows into Cauvery, which then continues to flow into a narrow, rocky area at Mekedatu; the Karnataka government is trying to build a dam in this place.