Mekedatu dam issue unites TN political parties against Cauvery authority


By Arun Lakshman Chennai, June 19 : Political parties of Tamil Nadu are agitating after the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) chairman, S.K. Halder stated that the CWMA would discuss the Mekedatu dam issue on June 23. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin said that a delegation of Tamil Nadu legislators led by the state Water Resources Minister, S. Duraimurugan would meet the Union Jal Shakti Minister against the involvement of CWMA in the matter. The political parties are of the opinion that the CWMA did not have any brief to discuss the issue which is a dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and a legal battle is going on in the Supreme Court. Stalin lashed out against the CWMA Chairman and said that the body does not have any power to take unilateral decisions when the matter was pending before the top court. State political parties including the opposition AIADMK is of the opinion that the union government should not yield to the pressure tactics of the Karnataka government. Stalin in a statement said that the Karnataka side has been making all-out efforts to reduce the quantum of Cauvery water given to Tamil Nadu and that the proposed dam at Mekedatu is one of the major effects of reducing Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu. The Chief Minister also said that this was a big betrayal to the farmers of Tamil Nadu and that this was against the federal principles of the country. Tamil Nadu side is of the opinion that Karnataka constructing a dam is against the verdict of the Supreme Court. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that the Supreme Court had delivered a judgment on February 16, 2018, apportioning the waters of Cauvery amongst the riparian states. Political leaders of Tamil Nadu are of the opinion that even though the water received by the state as part of the Supreme Court ordered apportioning is low but the state was managing without complaints to honour the verdict. The state is of the opinion that even though there is a lesser quantum of water being delivered from Cauvery, it needs to be as per the schedule and any disruption in that would adversely affect the farming and that was why Mekedatu dam issue is turning into a very sensitive one for the state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are at loggerheads for several years over the Mekedatu dam issue on the share of water from Cauvery river. The Mekedatu dam project estimated at Rs 9,000 crore, once completed, is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas and it can also generate 400 MW of power. The proposed Mekedatu reservoir is estimated to have a capacity of 2,84,000 million cubic feet (TMC) and as said earlier the Karnataka government in its budget for the financial year 2022-23 allocated Rs 1000 crore this year for implementing the project. Tamil Nadu is sore that the Mekedatu dam area represents the last free point in Karnataka from where Cauvery flows freely to Tamil Nadu and that the Mekedatu dam project is a ploy by the Karnataka side to prevent the free flow of water to Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu side believes that if the dam is built, Karnataka will only release residual quantities of water to Tamil Nadu and hence the state is opposed to the project in totality. All the political parties of Tamil Nadu including the AIADMK and the BJP are against the Mekedatu project leading to the state legislative assembly passing a unanimous resolution against the same. With the statement of the CWMA chairman causing much concern in Tamil Nadu, it is certain that in the days to come politics of the state will revolve around Mekedatu and the authority of the CWMA chairman to hold a discussion on the dam project. /IANS


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