TN is our brother but Mekedatu our right: DKS

TN is our brother but Mekedatu our right: DKS

Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar. DH file photo

The Mekedatu project is “the right of Karnataka” and the state government is willing to help neighbour Tamil Nadu understand the project better, Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar said on Thursday.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy hosted a two-hour-long meeting Thursday with the state’s former chief ministers, former irrigation ministers and legal experts to discuss various water disputes and projects, including Mekedatu.

Tamil Nadu has been up in arms ever since the Central Water Commission asked Karnataka to go ahead with preparing a detailed project report (DPR) on the Mekedatu balancing reservoir and drinking water plan.

Even as Karnataka consulted leaders from across parties, Tamil Nadu convened a special session of its Assembly on Thursday to press for the withdrawal of Centre's nod to Karnataka for preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) on Mekedatu.

“Actually 95% of the project will benefit Tamil Nadu,” Shivakumar told reporters. “Tamil Nadu is apprehensive that we will use the water for irrigation. But the fact is that there’s no scope for us to use any water for irrigation,” he said.

The minister repeatedly stressed that Karnataka had no control over the release of water “as the keys are with the Cauvery Water Management Authority.”

Karnataka was ordered to release 177.25 tmcft Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. “But 350 tmcft water has flown into Tamil Nadu and they’ve used only 150 tmcft. The rest 250 tmcft has flown into the sea. The balancing reservoir we have proposed can store only 64 tmcft of the water currently flowing into the sea,” Shivakumar explained. “We can only generate electricity with the water.”


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The project will submerge 4,996 hectares of land near the Tamil Nadu border. “Not even an acre of land belongs to Tamil Nadu. It’s our land and it’s our money,” the minister pointed out.

“Mekedatu is the right of Karnataka, a lifetime dream. We don’t want to fight with Tamil Nadu on this. We’re brothers. We’re willing to go to their doorsteps to make a presentation on what our project plan is,” Shivakumar said.

Tamil Nadu has already moved Supreme Court against the Centre's permission to Karnataka for preparation of the DPR. Karnataka has asked its Delhi-based legal team to “move carefully” and make sure the state's interest is safeguarded, Shivakumar said. “We don’t want any stay orders.”

During the meeting, former chief minister Siddaramaiah accused Tamil Nadu of politicising the issue. “They’re raising objections without any basis or evidence. Our project is justified. We should ensure no interim stay is issued,” he said.