Tamil Nadu has rights both on legal and humanitarian grounds to implement the second phase of the Hogenakkal Drinking Water Project, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said on Saturday, January 22.
Responding to his Karnataka counterpart Govind Karjol, Duraimurugan cited several aspects of the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal including clause-18 and consumptive use and the Supreme Court judgment of February 16, 2018 to underscore that Tamil Nadu has rights to execute this project, which is essential for drinking water needs.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol had on Friday, said the state government would oppose the proposed water project at Hogenakkal and that Tamil Nadu cannot take it up unilaterally.
In a statement, Duraimurugan said Tamil Nadu has rights both on legal and humanitarian grounds to implement the Hogenakkal project's second phase.
"The Cauvery-Hogenakkal project's second phase will be implemented for sure," the Tamil Nadu Minister said, hours after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced an all-party meeting in February to discuss inter-state water disputes.
On January 20, Chief Minister M K Stalin had said that the Tamil Nadu government would prepare a detailed project report to implement the second phase of the Hogenakkal combined drinking water project for Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts at an estimated cost of Rs 4,600 crore. The first phase of the Hogenakkal project, for drinking water supply and fluorosis mitigation was implemented during the 2006-11 DMK regime.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said he would convene an all-party meeting in the first week of February to discuss inter-state water disputes. The Chief Minister also said the government would fight the issue of interlinking of rivers politically and legally.
To a query on the Karnataka government's stand on the Hogenakkal Phase-2 project, allegedly proposed by the Tamil Nadu government, Bommai said, "Whether it be Hogenakkal or the interlinking of rivers, as a government we had faced such questions in the past. We have opposed the interlinking of rivers in the Supreme Court. We will fight it politically and legally."
Tamil Nadu has voiced its opposition to the Rs 9,000 crore Mekedatu balancing reservoir project of the Karnataka government in Ramanagara district, which is aimed at meeting the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and neighbouring districts. Tamil Nadu contends that project would affect the interests of farmers in the lower riparian areas in its state. Instead, it had advocated a dam at Hogenakkal at the border of Chamarajanagar in Karnataka and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu.
"I will convene an all-party meeting in the first week of February which the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy, Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol and the floor leaders of various parties in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council will participate," Bommai told reporters after a virtual meeting with legal experts fighting the water dispute related cases in various courts.
The Chief Minister said he would brief everyone participating in the meeting about the legal battle fought so far, the status of the court cases, the legal position to be taken in the interest of the state and materialise various water projects.
"In the past too we have risen above political differences when it came to issues pertaining to the state's land and water. Since the cases are at the crucial stages, I have convened the meeting in the first week of February where we will discuss with the leaders of the opposition parties and legal experts on how to proceed further with these disputes and what should be our stand," Bommai said.
Bommai said he along with Govind Karjol had a detailed discussion with the legal experts, who represented the state in various courts, through video conference. The discussions pertained to the projects related to the watershed regions of Krishna, Cauvery and Mahadayi river and the status of cases pending in various courts.