AIADMK MLAs stage walkout after EPS-minister duel

Mekedatu dam sparks clash in TN Assembly. Palaniswami opposes CWMA discussion. Minister Duraimurugan defends, says Karnataka needs TN's consent. AIADMK walks out. CWMA decision undisclosed.
AIADMK leader K Palaniswami speaks to reporters after the walkout on Thursday
AIADMK leader K Palaniswami speaks to reporters after the walkout on ThursdayP JAWAHAR

CHENNAI: The Mekedatu dam project proposed by Karnataka sparked a war of words between the ruling DMK and the opposition AIADMK in the Assembly, with opposition leader Edappadi K Palaniswami accusing the government of demonstrating a casual approach in the issue and voicing his opposition to Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) discussing the proposal. Palaniswami and AIADMK MLAs later staged a walkout from the Assembly.

Countering the accusation, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said the government was never apathetic to the issue and Karnataka cannot build a dam across Cauvery at Mekedatu without the consent of the lower riparian state. He also ruled out any further talks with Karnataka as the Cauvery Tribunal was formed to resolve the dispute after several rounds of talks between the two states.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the reply of the minister, Palaniswami said the DMK government should have adopted a resolution condemning the CWMA for allowing a discussion on Mekedatu which is beyond the jurisdiction of the authority. Also, the state government should have moved the Supreme Court against CWMA discussing the Karnataka government’s proposal.

TN yet to reveal decision taken by CWMA: EPS

Aft er the AIADMK walkout, Duraimurugan said, “The state government has been opposing the Mekedatu issue at the CWMA. Already, four cases are pending disposal before the SC. We have clearly told the court that the CWMA has no power to discuss the issue.”

Raising the issue during the zero hour, he said Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has allocated funds for the project, but Tamil Nadu government is yet to reveal to the House the decision taken by CWMA and the subject referred to the CWC. What if CWC permits the project, asked EPS. The TN officials should have staged a walkout from the meeting of CWMA opposing the discussion on Mekedatu, he said.

Explaining what had happened during the CWMA meeting, Duraimurugan said the TN water secretary opposed a discussion on the Mekedatu proposal. Despite that, the subject was taken up for discussion. Karnataka’s member in the CWMA said there was no legal hurdle for the project. However, the CWC member in the authority said since there is no order from the SC, the proposal should be returned to the CWC.

The member from Kerala said since it is an inter-state dispute, only an appropriate forum should discuss this and suggested that the proposal be returned to the CWC. Puducherry members also concurred with the view. So, Karnataka alone supported it and all others opposed it.

After this, the CWMA chairman said going by the views of the majority, the DPR could be returned to the CWC. No voting took place on the issue. TN has immediately registered its strong opposition to the CWMA chairman and is taking follow-up action on the issue.

‘No consent from riparian states’

“Mekedatu project cannot be implemented just because it was forwarded to the CWC. TN water resources secretary has written to Jal Sakthi ministry, forest department, and CWC chairman explaining TN’s stand and pointing out that Karnataka did not get the consent of riparian states,” minister Duraimurugan said.

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