Karnataka Dy CM asserts Mekedatu project will be implemented after DMK manifesto promises to stop it

PTI, Mar 22, 2024, 8:21 AM IST

Image source: PTI / File

Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Thursday asserted he has taken the responsibility as Irrigation Minister to implement the Mekedatu project across river Cauvery, following the DMK’s promise to stop construction of the dam in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls.

He expressed confidence about Karnataka getting justice at the Cauvery Water Management Authority and in courts.

Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK, a key constituent of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, in its manifesto released on Wednesday promised stopping construction of Mekedatu dam.

“Let them (DMK) do whatever in their state (Tamil Nadu). I have taken the Irrigation Minister responsibility to construct Mekedatu (dam),” Shivakumar said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the case is coming up before the Cauvery Water Management Authority.

“We will get justice. They, at the authority, are aware of the current water issue (in Karnataka). They have to give us justice. We are confident that we will get justice in the courts too,” he added.

Earlier in the day, referring to DMK’s promise in their manifesto, state BJP President B Y Vijayendra accused the Congress government in Karnataka of having ‘sacrificed’ the drinking water needs of the state’s farmers and citizens for the ‘selfish’ coalition politics of I.N.D.I.A. alliance.

Voting for the Congress would be detrimental to the interests of the state, he said, as he took a dig at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his government in a post on ‘X’ with ‘#WeakestCM #NammaKaveriNammaHakku (Our Cauvery Our Right) as hashtags.

“DMK Manifesto exposes the Siddaramaiah govt’s clandestine arrangement with M K Stalin (Tamil Nadu CM) that has cost us our lifeline ‘Cauvery’, the primary source of drinking water & irrigation purposes for our farmers, during the time of a severe drought,” Vijayendra said.

He said, this very much explains the government’s “lackadaisical attitude” in fighting for the state’s rightful share of Cauvery water with the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), that has resulted in Karnataka releasing water in abundance to Tamil Nadu, “more than our share”.

“It’s no wonder if DMK would leverage its alliance power to bargain for more Cauvery water & STOP the Mekedatu project, in case the I.N.D.I.A. comes into power. Voting for Congress would be detrimental to the interests of our state. Only Karnataka BJP can do justice to our state,” he added.

A separate Project Division and two Sub-Divisions have already been set up to implement the ambitious Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir and drinking water project of Cauvery river valley, Siddaramaiah had said, presenting the state budget last month.

A survey to identify land that will be submerged under this project and the counting process of trees have already been initiated, he had also said, adding “action will be taken on priority to commence the work early after obtaining remaining necessary clearances from the competent authorities.”

Mekedatu is a multi-purpose (drinking water and power) project proposed by Karnataka, which involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.

Neighbouring Tamil Nadu has been opposing the project, raising apprehensions that the state would be affected if the project takes shape.

The project, once completed, is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power, and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore (2019 rates).

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