Karnataka to decide on legal action against NGT’s panel on Mekedatu project


PTI, May 26, 2021, 4:32 PM IST

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has called a meeting on Thursday to decide on legal action against the National Green Tribunal setting up a panel, to look into the alleged violations at Mekedatu, the proposed site for construction of a dam across the Kaveri river.

The State has raised questions regarding the timing and the legality of the NGT decision, as the matter relating to the proposed project was before the Supreme Court.

”Based on a newspaper report, the National Green Tribunal in Chennai has taken up a suo moto case and has formed a committee and has asked it to visit Mekedatu and see if any violation has taken place or any environment-related concerns… there wasn’t any formal complaint,” Home and Law Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters here on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister has called a meeting to decide on what the next course of action should be, he said.

”Advocate General, myself as the law minister, all the senior legal experts, Chief Secretary and Irrigation Department Secretary, will be part of the meeting. We will take an important decision on further legal action,” he added.

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday had formed a committee to submit a report on alleged violation of norms at the proposed construction site of the reservoir, across the Kaveri river at Mekedatu in Karnataka.

The direction came after taking suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a newspaper report that Karnataka proposes to construct a dam across the Kaveri in the area and that the proposal was deferred by the Kaveri Water Management Authority twice in the past following strong opposition from the Tamil Nadu government citing the pendency of the case before the Supreme Court.

Noting that the Mekedatu project is Karnataka’s right and Tamil Nadu has gone against it to the Supreme Court, Bommai said the case is before the apex court and all the details about the project are in front of it.

”When such is the situation, constituting this committee has raised questions as to how timely and legal it is. So it is our duty to protect the interest of Karnataka legally, how effectively we should do it, regarding that a decision will be taken at the meeting tomorrow,” he added.

Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.

Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing the project, raising apprehensions that the State will 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.

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