“Mekedatu Project” – A Panel to investigate charges of illegal construction

What is the News?

The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has formed a committee to investigate the alleged violation of norms in the construction of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river. The NGT has also directed the panel to submit a report on or before July 5.

About Mekedatu Project:

  • Mekedatu project is a balancing reservoir and drinking water project. It is to be built at the confluence of the Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers by the Karnataka Government.
  • Purpose: The project aims to solve the drinking water problems of the Bengaluru and Ramanagara district. It would also generate 400 MW of hydroelectric power.
  • Dispute: The Tamil Nadu Government has objected to the project saying Karnataka had not sought prior permission for the project.
    • Tamil Nadu has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court in 2018 seeking a stay on the project.

 Objections by Tamil Nadu Government:

  • Firstly, the Mekedatu project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
  • Secondly, Karnataka has no right to construct any reservoir on an inter-state river without the consent of the lower riparian state i.e. Tamil Nadu in this case.
    • The project is also against the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). During that, the SC held that no state can claim exclusive ownership or assert rights to deprive other states of the waters of inter-state rivers.
  • Thirdly, The CWDT and the SC have found that the existing storage facilities available in the Cauvery basin were adequate for storing and distributing water. So, the Tamil Nadu Government is demanding outright rejection of the project.

Other concerns with the project:

  • Almost 63% of the forest area of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary will be submerged in the project.

Source: The Hindu


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