Karnataka govt to hold meeting with union Ministers to expedite Mekedatu project

06:26 PM Sep 14, 2020 | Team Udayavani |
Bengaluru:  The Karnataka government on Monday said it is committed to the proposed Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river, which Tamil Nadu is opposed to, and would hold meetings with union ministers concerned later this week to expedite it. "...I have held meetings three to four times on this. On Wednesday or Thursday we will seek time from Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Mostly Chief Minister may also come (to the meeting in Delhi)..we will put pressure regarding the construction of the dam," Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said. Speaking to reporters after inspecting the proposed dam site, he said the state would convince the Tamil Nadu government (of the need to build the project). "Also there is an application before the court against it. We will try to get it cleared through our advocates at the earliest. With the centre's approval and notification, we want to start the work soon," he said. The Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir and Drinking Water Project involves construction of a balancing reservoir across river the Cauvery river near Mekedatu. Estimated to cost Rs 9,000 crore, the project aims to provide drinking water facilities to the Bengaluru Metropolitan region and its surrounding areas (4.75 TMC) and generate 400 MW of power as an additional benefit. Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing the project, raising apprehensions that the state will be affected if the project takes shape. Noting that the reservoir will have a capacity of about 67.16 tmcft, Jarkiholi said the project will in no way affect the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal's award or the Supreme Court's direction to release of 177.25 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu. He pointed out that the state suffers enormous water loss when it is released to Tamil Nadu and the proposed dam would check it. Also, the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu is about 90 km from here, he said. To a question on Tamil Nadu's opposition to the project, Jarkiholi said, "we will have to convince them at all levels of the government...also because of the election there next year, they may cause is normal. We will make things clear from our side to the Centre and court that this is only a balancing reservoir," he said. The minister said a revised proposal would be sent to the forest department for clearance as it had been over six months since the earlier one had been sent and it would have lapsed. "We will expedite things now," he said. He did not commit to any time frame for completion of the project and merely said "as soon as possible." About five villages and surrounding areas would be submerged due to the project and the people there would be rehabilitated, he added.

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