Bengaluru/Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday urged the Centre to advise the Karnataka government not to proceed with the Rs5,912 crore Mekedatu project, saying it would violate the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
The Mekedatu Multipurpose Drinking Water and Power Project, has become the latest bone of contention in the 150-year-old squabble over the Cauvery river water between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
“I request the government of India to advise government of Karnataka not to proceed with the project or any preparatory activities including project feasibility reports, as this would violate the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal," Palaniswami said after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
Karnataka argues that the proposed dam will be beneficial to all stakeholders as it will be used for generating four megawatts of hydro-electricity, retention of water during floods and regulation of water flow to Tamil Nadu during farm distress years, among other benefits.
“We try and convince Tamil Nadu that it will not affect the flow of 192 tmcft of water during normal years. But if that does not happen, then we will approach Supreme Court, Central Water Commission and the Supervisory Committee and other appropriate forums," M.B.Patil, Karnataka water resources minister, said.
Patil said Karnataka will now apply for statutory permissions to go ahead with the project in Mekedatu, located about 200 km from Bengaluru.
On Monday, Palaniswami urged the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery water regulation committee.
Karnataka is facing its second consecutive drought year and acute drinking water shortage due to failing rains and says that the dam will help conserve surplus water during floods. Tamil Nadu has declared that at least 13,305 villages have been hit by drought this year.
Over the years, there have been riots in both states over the dispute. On 12 September, Bengaluru witnessed large-scale violence in which at least two persons were killed and over 100 Tamil Nadu-registered vehicles damaged after an unfavourable court order was passed by the SC directing Karnataka to release water to the neighbouring state.