Mekedatu project has to come into effect: Kumaraswamy

Bengaluru/Chennai: A miffed Tamilnadu Tuesday demanded that the Centre withdraw its permission to Karnataka for preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a proposed balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project at Mekedatu across the Cauvery.

Reacting to the neighbouring state’s demand, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy asserted that the project has to come into effect. “No need to panic, Mekedatu project has to come into effect,” Kumaraswamy said in response to a question about Tamilnadu writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, “The State government within the framework of law….how it plans to implement the project by petitioning the central government… we will share with you in the days to come.”

Kumaraswamy’s comments come amid reports that the Central Water Commission (CWC) has given its go-ahead to Karnataka for preparing a DPR. Bringing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s notice that the Central Water Commission has this month given its go-ahead to Karnataka for preparing a DPR, Tamilnadu Chief Minister Palaniswami said Tamilnadu had already opposed a feasibility report in the matter.

The CWC, without considering the genuine and justifiable objections of Tamilnadu, has given permission to Karnataka to prepare the DPR for the Mekedatu project, he said in a letter to Modi. The CWC’s action has caused apprehension among people as its decision will affect the livelihood of lakhs of farmers who depend on the Cauvery water, he added.

“I request you to kindly…instruct the CWC to forthwith withdraw the permission given to Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd of Karnataka for preparation of the DPR for Mekedatu project,” Palaniswami said, adding that he expected an immediate and positive reply.

Karnataka Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar, without sharing much details, said the issue will be discussed in the meeting of former chief ministers and former water resource ministers called by the state government on 6 December.

Meanwhile, state BJP Chief B S Yeddyurappa has complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Water Resources minister Nitin Gadkari and CWC members for “according clearance” to the Mekedatu project meant to provide drinking water to hundreds of villages and Bengaluru.

He said the project was hanging in the balance since long and the state government should without any alibis go ahead with the project work including preparation and submission of DPR besides starting the construction works.

“The state government should consider this as a special case and allocate funds on priority basis to complete this project in a time bound manner,” he said.

The previous Siddaramaiah government had decided to implement the Rs 5,912 crore Mekedatu Multipurpose (drinking and power) project across the Cauvery, which involves building a balancing reservoir with a capacity of about 66 tmcft, near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district.