Govt will go ahead with Mekedatu dam project: Siddaramaiah

The State government is committed to building a dam across River Cauvery near Mekedatu. The project will in no manner affect Tamil Nadu nor was Karnataka worried about “tantrums” of the neighbouring state, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at the helipad here, he said Karnataka never questioned its neighbour on the drinking water scheme, under which four of its districts received water supply from Hogenakkal whereas the Tamil Nadu government was unnecessarily interfering in the Mekedatu scheme.

The new dam would facilitate power production and aid efficient water supply to Bangalore. It will also help supply of water to Tamil Nadu during rain-scarce periods. The Mekedatu scheme was being conceived in such a manner that the greens would not be affected, he added.

With regard to a joint review of the 68 km of the border between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the chief minister said that the Central Survey department was supposed to carry out a survey. Karnataka has given the green signal for the joint review but Tamil Nadu is not co-operating, Siddaramaiah claimed.

Meanwhile, the government has invited global expression of interest, with respect to the construction of a reservoir at Mekedatu, Water Resources Minister M B Patil said in Mysuru on Friday.

Addressing a press meet, he said December 31 is the deadline to receive proposals from consultants regarding the project, following which detailed project report will be submitted, he said.

He said there were no reservoirs downstream of Krishnarajasagar and Kabini reservoirs in the State. Construction of a balancing reservoir at Mekedatu, would regulate the process of releasing water to Tamil Nadu and will also help improve groundwater levels, he said.

Drip irrigation

He said a project to set up drip irrigation facilities for sugar cane cultivation has been formulated. This would help save 186 TMC ft of water and will also increase the yield of the crop, he said. “If drip irrigation is introduced, yield will increase from 35 tonnes to 65 tonnes and will reduce the expense incurred by farmers on agricultural labourers,” he said.

The cost of installing the facilties per acre will come up to Rs 40,000. Arrangements are being made to assist farmers by providing subsidies and funds under corporate social responsibility, he said.  

Responding to questions, he said there would be no political interference with regard to programmes associated with filling of lakes in the State. Dismissing allegations that political interference had robbed some villages of such programmes, he said some lakes could not be filled due to “technical issues.”

The minister inspected modernisation work taken up in Chikkadevaraya extension canal and Rajaparameshwari canal, near Bannur in the district.

During the visit, general secretary of Karnataka Rajya Kabbu Belegarara Sangha, Atthalli Devaraj complained about sub-standard work taken up during modernisation of Chikkadevaraya extension canal. He alleged that curing of canal walls were not done properly and iron rods were not installed in some places to provide stability to the canal. Responding to the complaints, Patil said technical experts of the department would look into the issue.

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