Mekedatu dam will help TN farmers, says Karnataka CM

Chennai: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Friday said the proposed Mekedatu dam across Cauvery would benefit farmers of Tamilnadu as excess water can be stored during monsoon season for release whenever required by the lower riparian state.

Pitching for a dialogue to sort out differences over sharing of the inter-state river water and the proposed dam, being opposed by Tamilnadu, he said the Centre had only given preliminary approval for the detailed project report, and a final decision would be taken only in consultation with all stakeholders.

Talking to reporters at the airport here, Kumaraswamy said Karnataka wanted to build the dam at Mekedatu to avoid wastage of water during rainy season. He said his state released more than 394 TMC water to Tamilnadu this year, but 50 per cent of it went into the sea.

“We wanted to construct this storage reservoir so that we can store this water and whenever our Tamilnadu farmers required, we can release it… We wanted to construct this reservoir in the interest of Tamilnadu and Karnataka farmers,” Kumaraswamy said.

His remarks come days after the Tamilnadu assembly passed a resolution unanimously urging the Centre to withdraw the permission given for the DPR for Mekedatu and not to allow Karnataka to build any new reservoir across Cauvery.

Kumaraswamy also said the Centre gave the nod for the DPR after looking into the views of every riparian state. “That’s all. Completely central government has not agreed. Without consulting the Tamilnadu government, without taking their permission, Central government may not take a decision. It is only preliminary permission to go for DPR,” he said.

He appealed to the Tamilnadu government and opposition parties not to politicise the issue. “We are like brothers. Tamilnadu and Karnataka are brothers and sisters. I request we can sit and share whatever problems are there. We can mutually come to one conclusion,” he said noting that the Cauvery issue had been pending for over 125 years.

He said Karnataka would utilise the water for drinking purposes and not for irrigation purposes. Tamilnadu is opposing the project, saying it was in violation of the apex court order and would affect the farmers of the state.