The TN CM’s speech comes ahead of the Karnataka CM’s meeting with Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to discuss the environmental clearance for the project.

TN will not allow Mekedatu dam to be constructed CM Edappadi in AssemblyWiki commons/SugurajS (CC BYSA 4.0)
news Water Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - 17:16

In the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that the state government will never allow the Mekedatu dam in Karnataka to be constructed. The speech came a day before Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and state Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi are scheduled to meet union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

“Karnataka brought it up in the Cauvery Water Management Authority and we opposed it strongly. Then it was removed from the agenda. There is a case against this dam in the Supreme Court. Hence let me categorically state that the government of Tamil Nadu will not allow them to construct Mekedatu dam,” he said in the Assembly. He was answering a question raised by DMK’s Durai Murugan, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

CM Edappadi added that the Supreme Court order on the Cauvery dispute clearly stated that the water share to Tamil Nadu shall not be obstructed or diverted. This empowers Tamil Nadu in the legal battle on Mekedatu. 

On Wednesday, the Karnataka delegation is scheduled to meet Javadekar. They are expected to discuss the Environmental Clearance (EC) for the construction of the Mekedatu dam in Ramanagara. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project was prepared by the government of Karnataka in 2018 and the project was slated to receive EC immediately after that. However, amid the fall of the coalition government in Karnataka and the COVID-19 pandemic, the project fell on the backburners.

However, during its budget speech for 2020-21, the state government had promised that the construction of the dam would be a priority. It cited the amendments to the Land Acquisition Act in 2018, which allowed for environmental clearance of forest land for irrigation projects. Sources said that the Chief Minister will discuss the feasibility for issuing the clearance.

As per the DPR, the project requires 5252 hectares of land. Of this, 3,181 hectares identified is reserve forest area; 1,870 hectares is forest land; and 201 hectares is land that belongs to the Karnataka Revenue Department.

Tamil Nadu has been opposing the construction of the dam since its planning stages and has written multiple letters to the union government, urging it to not give the government of Karnataka permission to go ahead with the project.

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