Bommai to convene all-party meet in Feb first week to discuss inter-state water disputes


PTI, Jan 22, 2022, 5:43 PM IST

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.”

Bommai’s statement came a day after Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol said the Karnataka government will oppose the proposed water project at Hogenakkal at the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu stating that the neighbouring state cannot take it up unilaterally. Alleging that the details of the project have not been furnished before the tribunal and the Supreme court, the minister had said Tamil Nadu cannot take up this project unilaterally.

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 Chamrajanagar 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.

He added that he would again hold another video conference on water disputes by the end of January because the legal experts have said they have to make some more preparations.

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