Karnataka Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s statement came as Tamil Nadu raised objections over Mekedatu and Markandeya Dam projects initiated by the state.

Karnataka Minister Basavaraj Bommai speaking at an earlier event in KarnatakaFacebook
news Water Dispute Monday, July 05, 2021 - 08:40

Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said that Tamil Nadu’s objections to the state’s irrigation project Mekedatu is a “political adventure” and added that Karnataka will fight it out legally. Bommai had hoped for a positive response from Tamil Nadu after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa wrote to TN CM MK Stalin urging him not to object to the Mekedatu Project. Bommai maintained Karnataka's stand that the Mekedatu Project will benefit both the states. 

“Tamil Nadu has always objected to Karnataka on the water issue, whether it is in the Cauvery main stream or smaller streams in the basin. After the tribunal order and constitution of the Cauvery board it has become difficult for them,” said Bommai to the media in Bengaluru. “New government has taken charge in Tamil Nadu, so it is their political adventure by making small things a bigger issue for their political needs. We will fight it out legally," he added.

The Minister said that the Mekedatu project will be undertaken within Karnataka’s limits and the submerged areas will also be within the state’s territory. It is a drinking water project and won’t affect Tamil Nadu’s share of water, he added.  The project will utilise the surplus water after having released Tamil Nadu’s share, yet they have approached the Supreme Court. They have from the onset raised objections on the Markandeya dam issue, Bommai told reporters.

"From the Mekedatu project, we will get drinking water, while the surplus water stored will also help Tamil Nadu during the distress year. Despite knowing that the project will benefit their state and also us and it is a win-win situation for both, they have objected to it in the Supreme Court and our lawyers are attending it," he said.

Chief Minister Yediyurappa on Saturday wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin urging him not to oppose the Mekedatu project "in the right spirit" and offered to hold a bilateral meeting to address any issues. Stalin in his reply, on Sunday, has again urged Karnataka to not commence with the project. Rejecting Karnataka's stand that implementation of this project would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers, Stalin, in a letter to Yediyurappa, said that this view cannot be agreed upon.

Read: TN CM Stalin writes to Yediyurappa, urges Karnataka to not pursue Mekedatu project

Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district. Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing the project, raising apprehensions that the state will be affected if the project takes shape. The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.7 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power, and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Durai Murugan on Saturday reiterated objection to another irrigation project of Karnataka, stating that irrigation for about 870 hectares in his state's Krishnagiri district would be affected by the new dam across river Markandeya, and urged the Union government to set up a tribunal to resolve the issue.

Also Read: Tribunal needed to resolve Markandeya river dispute with Karnataka: TN Min

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