'Will convince TN on utility of Mekedatu for both states'

'Will convince TN on utility  of Mekedatu for both states'

Water Resources Minister M B Patil on Tuesday said the state government would soon make efforts to convince Tamil Nadu on the utility of the Mekedatu project.

Speaking to reporters, Patil said the Mekedatu multipurpose project would be beneficial to Tamil Nadu too, especially during distress years, as water impounded in the dam can be shared between the two states. “Our chief minister is ready to hold talks with his Tamil Nadu counterpart in this regard,” Patil said.

The state cabinet had recently cleared the project which envisages construction of a balancing reservoir of 66.5-tmc-ft capacity across Cauvery river near Mekedatu in Ramanagaram district. A 400 megawatt-capacity hydropower unit is also proposed as part of the project. The balancing reservoir will help impound water which otherwise goes waste. The water can be utilised by both the states during distress years, he said.

The minister said the state had already convinced the Centre that it would utilise only the excess water after releasing 192 tmc ft to Tamil Nadu as stipulated by the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal. Tamil Nadu has been opposing the project, saying it will destroy forest cover and damage the environment.

“The state government has decided to go ahead with the Mekedatu project and take it to its logical end. Our legal team and experts are prepared to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court as the petition filed by Tamil Nadu,” Patil said. Necessary permission from the Cauvery Supervisory Committee and the Central Water Commission will be sought, he said.

He said as drinking water requirements of Bengaluru will be met by Mekedatu project, the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board will be asked to partly fund the Rs 5,912-crore project by borrowing loans. The loans could be repayed utilising the water supply charges paid by consumers, he added.

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