New Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday said Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were not "Indo-Pak enemies" and the states can resolve the matter of proposed Mekedatu project on Cauvery River amicably.
Kumaraswamy, after discussing the proposed project with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, announced that the Centre was expected to call a joint meeting of the heads of both the states in the next 10-15 days to iron out the differences over the matter.
The chief minister thanked the Centre for giving clearance to the state government for preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Mekedatu project. During his two-day visit to the national capital, the JD(S) leader also held a series of meetings with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari, and discussed various state projects including the commercial operation of Bidar and Gulbarga airports.
"I have brought to his (Modi) notice the proposed Mekedatu project. I also thanked him for giving permission to prepare DPR of the project," Kumaraswamy told reporters after meeting Modi.
Kumaraswamy said the Union water resources minister had agreed to his request to convene a meeting of the chief ministers of both the states to resolve the matter.
"In another 10-15 days, he may call a meeting," the Karnataka chief minister said and appealed Tamil Nadu to settle the matter amicably instead of fighting in courts.
The two main Tamil Nadu parties-- AIADMK and DMK-- have been opposing the project and disrupting proceedings in both Houses of Parliament for more than a week. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned Thursday over the issue.
To counter the protest, Karnataka MPs, cutting across the party lines, staged an agitation in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Parliament complex.
Asserting that differences can be resolved amicably, the JD(S) leader said, "We are not Indo-Pak enemies, we are brothers. We have to discuss and resolve."
"The fight is going on. This will not be solved legally. We have to resolve it amicably. Facing a legal battle is different," he said and added the proposed Mekedatu project would be more beneficial to Tamil Nadu and requested the AIADMK and DMK not to make the issue a political one.
"I request political parties not to make it a political issue. We can sit and solve. It is not a big issue," he said, adding the Karnataka government was abiding with the Supreme Court order.
"The state (Karnataka) is proposing to construct the Mekedatu dam to ensure that surplus water does not flow from Cauvery into the sea. Please accept our project," Kumaraswamy said.
He asserted that his state had released more than 390 tmc of water from Cauvery to Tamil Nadu during the monsoon season.
"Has it been kept in Mettur dam or released into sea?" he said.
Besides the vexed Mekedatu project, the Karnataka chief minister also discussed with Modi the release of drought relief to the state, declaration of Upper Krishna Project Stage-III as a project of national importance and gazette notification of the award of Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II and of Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.
Among other issues raised with the central government, Kumaraswamy demanded extension of GST compensation period beyond 2025, conducting banking exam in Kannada language, supply of coal to thermal power stations, setting up of new airports in five places, higher relief package to flood-hit coffee growers, better price to tobacco growers among others.