On Tuesday, the Centre gave Karnataka its preliminary nod to prepare a detailed project report on the Mekedatu project.

Restrain Ktaka from proceeding with Mekedatu project TN moves Supreme Court
news Mekedatu Friday, November 30, 2018 - 14:18

With rising tensions over the proposed construction of the Mekedatu reservoir-cum-drinking water project on the river Cauvery, Tamil Nadu has moved the Supreme Court on Thursday, seeking to restrain Karnataka from proceeding with its detailed project report.

The civil appeal before the apex court also seeks to direct Karnataka to not proceed with construction. “Restrain the State of Karnataka from proceeding with the construction of two reservoirs at Mekedatu across river Cauvery as contemplated by the State of Karnataka or any other new projects across the river Cauvery in Karnataka which are not contemplated and/or permitted in the final decision of the Tribunal,” it states.

It also adds, "Direct the State of Karnataka to maintain status quo and not to proceed with the construction of any project which is not in consonance with the final decision as notified in the Official Gazette on 19.02.2013 pending disposal of the Civil Appeals and the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board;"

The appeal reiterates the "serious objections" raised by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami in his letter to the Prime Minister in September wherein he termed Karnataka's proposal a violation of the February 2018 verdict of the apex court. The Supreme Court had settled the centuries-long river dispute between the two states, with the formation of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

Tamil Nadu contends “that the proposed reservoir would affect the natural flows of the river Cauvery and nullifies the final adjudication.”

Significantly, the appeal also points out that the then Supervisory Committee had taken no action on Tamil Nadu's complaints against Karnataka's "unauthorized lift irrigation schemes". Flaying the CWC for its role, Tamil Nadu also said that the water agency that functions under the Ministry of Water Resources “ought to have advised Karnataka to get the concurrence of Tamil Nadu and other co-basin States.”

“It was also stated that Cauvery being a deficit basin, construction of Mekedatu or any other projects in Karnataka would drastically affect the lower riparian State in getting their due share of waters as per the Final Order of the Tribunal as modified by this Hon’ble Court,” the appeal said.

On Tuesday, the Central Water Commission gave its nod to the pre-feasibility report submitted by Karnataka. The state has been asked by the CWC to prepare a detailed project report. This raised warning bells in Tamil Nadu, the lower riparian state, into which the Cauvery drains.

Within hours, the Tamil Nadu government wrote to the Centre once again, explaining that the proposed reservoir would “affect the livelihood of lakhs of farmers who depend on Cauvery water.”

While Karnataka has said that the project is aimed to alleviate the drinking water woes of Bengaluru and Ramanagara as well as to generate hydro-electricity for the state, Tamil Nadu has alleged that it is an attempt to increase the extent of irrigation.

Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have announced a protest against the Centre over the issue on December 4.


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