Besides citing a pending plea before the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu said that any discussion on Mekedatu could take place only if all the stakeholders including Kerala and Puducherry were present.

Cauvery River in TiruchyWikimediaCommons/LingeswaranMarimuthukumar
news Mekedatu Dispute Wednesday, September 01, 2021 - 10:38

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) in its meeting in Delhi on Tuesday avoided discussion on the Mekedatu dam proposal of Karnataka after Tamil Nadu strongly objected to it, the state government said. Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a reservoir, near Kanakapura in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district. Tamil Nadu is opposed to the Mekedatu dam, holding the view that the project would “impound and divert” the uncontrolled water flow due to Tamil Nadu from Kabini sub-basin, the catchment area below Krishnarajasagara, and also from Simsha, Arkavathy and Suvarnavathi sub-basins besides other small streams.

Karnataka has maintained that the project will benefit both states as the surplus water stored can be managed between the two during distress years, and its implementation will in no way affect the interests of the farming communities of Tamil Nadu. Earlier in July, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had responded to a letter from then Karnataka CM Yediyurappa regarding the matter, urging him not to pursue the Mekedatu project, as he rejected Karnataka's stand that implementation of the project would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers.

Though Mekedatu was mentioned as a subject in the agenda for the meeting, a discussion on it was dropped following Tamil Nadu's strong objection, an official release said. At the outset, Tamil Nadu representatives cited a petition by the state government in the Supreme Court seeking rejection of a Detailed Project Report for the Mekedatu dam proposal. This plea is expected to be taken up for hearing soon by the apex court and hence, the Mekedatu issue should not be deliberated, the TN officials told the meeting.

Also, Tamil Nadu said any discussion on Mekedatu could take place only if all the stakeholders — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry — concurred. It was argued in the meeting that water release as per stipulations should be done by Karnataka so as to ensure that the short term kuruvai rice harvest is not affected and also to facilitate long term samba rice cultivation in the Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu.

Quoting CWMA chief SK Haldar's interaction with journalists in Delhi, the TN government said Karnataka has agreed to release water by the end of September for Tamil Nadu. Haldar told reporters that Karnataka dams should have about 209 TMC water as of now but it has only got 156 TMC water, which is a deficit of 25%. Karnataka said it could not release water according to norms to TN in view of such a scenario. With regard to a discussion on the Mekedatu dam proposal in the authority's meeting, Haldar reportedly said that concurrence of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry is necessary.

The CWMA reportedly directed Karnataka to release 27.86 thousand million cubic feet of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, which is to compensate the shortfall against the entitled 86.38 tmc water for the period ending August 30 in addition to the due for September, the Tamil Nadu government added. Karnataka has released only 57.04 TMC water as of August 30, it said.

(With PTI inputs)

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