Centre has given conditional clearance to Karnataka for preparing a detailed project report (DPR) on Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project.
- According to Government, the conditional clearance is only meant for preparing the detailed project report and it no way conveys clearance by the Government for construction of the project.
- Nod of the Cauvery Water Management Authority would be a “pre-requisite” for consideration of the DPR for techno-economic approval by the advisory committee of the ministry.
- As far as Mekedatu project was concerned, the conditional clearance for preparation of DPR was subject to project authority (Karnataka) resolving inter-state matters amicably by due consultation with co-Basin States of Cauvery basin.
What is the Mekedatu project?
- Mekedatu, is a deep gorge situated at the confluence of the rivers Cauvery and Arkavathi, about 100 km from Bengaluru, at the Kanakapura taluk in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district.
- In 2013, then Karnataka announced the construction of a multi-purpose balancing reservoir project over the Mekedatu with an aims to alleviate the drinking water problems of Bengaluru and Ramanagara district. It is also expected to generate hydro-electricity to meet the power needs of the state.
Why does Tamil Nadu object?
- Soon after the project was announced in 2013, then Tamil Nadu Government raised the objection over dam because it will affect the natural flow of the river Cauvery considerably and will severely affect the irrigation in Tamil Nadu.
- Tamil Nadu stated that the construction of a reservoir would be against the principles of federalism because in a federal structure, no upper riparian State can unilaterally interfere with the natural flow of an inter State river without the consent and concurrence of the lower riparian State
- Tamil Nadu’s stand was that the project would not only impede the water available to farmers in the state but it would also go against the mandate that the total quantity of water must be for consumptive use, as prescribed by the Tribunal.
- In December 2018: Tamil Nadu moves contempt petition in the Supreme Court against the CWC, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited for ‘willful disobedience’ of the SC order on Cauvery water sharing.
- Tamil Nadu Assembly also passes unanimous resolution seeking to stop Karnataka’s plans to construct the Mekedatu dam and calling for Central intervention in the matter.