Karnataka assembly passes resolution on Mekedatu to counter Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka legislative assembly members unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday countering a similar move by their counterparts in Tamil Nadu on the Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project, asserting their right to continue with the contentious project.

Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai piloted the resolution that was passed unanimously, breaking the opposition’s continuous onslaught on several issues against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state.

While mooting opposition to a resolution passed in Tamil Nadu, Bommai said: “The Tamil Nadu assembly has taken a disrespectful decision on the Mekedatu balancing reservoir and drinking water project on 21-3-2022 against the unity (of the country) thinking only about themselves in a unilateral way which is illegal.”

The resolution comes days after the Tamil Nadu assembly saw all its parties push for the resolution condemning Karnataka’s move to surge ahead with the contentious project over River Cauvery which evokes strong sentiments on both sides of the border in two of the most industrious states in the country.

Mekedatu, which literally means Goat’s crossing in English, is around 100 km from Bengaluru in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district. The Mekedatu issue has evoked emotions on both sides of the border as it is an extension of the century-old Cauvery River water dispute that has defined generations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The long-winding legal battles have been used as a political currency in the past as well as an active tool to deflect attention away from other issues both sides of the border and irrespective of the party in power.

The Cauvery River basin originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before it enters the Bay of Bengal. Of the total catchment area of 81,155 sq km, 34,273 km in Karnataka, 44,016 sq km in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and about 2,866 sq km in Kerala.

Karnataka has maintained that the Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project is to generate 400 MW of power and additionally utilise 4.75 tmcft of water for drinking and domestic needs in the state and particularly Bengaluru.

The Karnataka assembly urged the Central Water Commission and the ministry of environment and forest to give necessary clearances to go ahead with the project.

It also urged the concerned central agencies not to finalise the DPR for Godavari – Krishna -Pennar – Cauvery – Vaigai – Gundar river linking, until the legitimate share of the concerned states is decided upon and until all aspects of it (DPR) are agreeable to Karnataka, and also not give approval for Tamil Nadu’s “illegal” projects and to direct it not to go ahead with them, PTI reported.

Karnataka believes that it has every right to utilise water for drinking water and generating electricity which it says will not affect the quantum awarded to Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka has maintained that it does need the permission of Tamil Nadu to construct a reservoir in its territory and its own water.

“We strongly condemn Tamil Nadu’s illegal projects and will oppose them on all platforms,” Bommai said.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and JD(S) Deputy Leader Bandeppa Kashempur extended their support for the resolution to be passed unanimously.

The state budget 2022-23, presented by Bommai recently, provided a grant of 1,000 crore this year for implementation of the project. The estimated 9,000-crore project, once completed, is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and it can also generate 400 MW of power.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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