The Mekedatu dam initiative was a conspiracy to hinder water flow to Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister M K Stalin alleged on Monday in a meet of all parties with MLAs in Tamil Nadu Assembly. The meeting condemned attempts by Karnataka to build the dam and urged the union government to not accord sanction for the proposal.
The move to build reservoir went against the Supreme Court judgment and challenged the Constitution’s majesty, a resolution adopted in the meet said and requested that no Central ministry related to the dam initiative should give its clearance. Chairing the meet, Chief Minister M K Stalin said a moot question was how Karnataka would provide Tamil Nadu its share of water if it was to build the Mekedatu dam when it was not releasing due share to TN even during normal times.
“Karnataka is providing Tamil Nadu only the surplus water, when it was not storing water during floods. Karnataka does not provide water as per the directives of Cauvery tribunal and the Surpeme Court," he said. Against this background, if Karanataka was to build a new dam with 67.16 TMC capacity, the future of state’s farmers would be in peril and this was the danger that confronted Tamil Nadu, he said.
Karnataka’s claim that the Mekedatu dam was aimed at meeting the drinking water needs of Bengaluru city and for electricity generation is “not true and it is to deceive us," the Chief Minister said, adding Cauvery river is a livelihood right for Tamil Nadu. “Not only Karnataka, Tamil Nadu also has full right on Cauvery river," he said.
The river traversed more through Tamil Nadu than Karnataka. “Hence, we have full right. We have also established this right legally." Cauvery, which originates at Talakaveri in Western Ghats in Karnataka, flows for about 800 km before it joins th Bay of Bengal near Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu and sharing the river water has often been a vexatious issue between the two neighbours. The Mekedatu dam initiative is a ‘conspiracy’ to block flow of water to Tamil Nadu from catchment areas below Kabini, Krishnarajasagar, sub-basins of rivers Shimsha, Arkavathi, Suvarnavathy and other small rivers, Stalin said.
Since such areas do not have reservoirs, water reached Tamil Nadu without any hindrance and the new dam proposal was only to scuttle free flow, he said. Kabini, Krishnarajasagar and sub-basins were sources of water supply to Tamil Nadu under the first component of the final order by the tribunal as modified by the apex court, he said.
Water release from Kabini and Krishnarajasagar were the other two sources of supply to TN and these were the other two components of the order for giving the state its due share of Cauvery water. These two dams are under the full control of Karnataka and only after storing adequate water for their use, Tamil Nadu was provided water.
“If Mekedatu dam is built, (whatever quantum of) water that we get (now) will be stored in this new reservoir," h said, adding only after fulfilling Karnataka’s needs, the remaining portion of water from the proposed new dam would be given to Tamil Nadu. Only considering this aspect, Tamil Nadu had all along been opposing the Mekedatu dam initiative, he said and recalled several steps taken over the years.
“We have to demonstrate that Tamil Nadu is united in its thought in this livelihood issue, under no circumstances we will allow the Mekedatu dam, the TN government is firm about it," he said. The first resolution adopted in the meet said, as per the Supreme Court order, no construction can be taken up in Mekedatu without the prior consent of lower riparian states.
“It is highly condemnable that Karnataka government is now taking steps in full swing to build the dam at Mekedatu in violation of the apex court order." Due to this, water availability for Tamil Nadu farmers would be hit. “Such efforts, that go against the top court’s order is a challenge to the majesty of the Indian Constitution. Hence, central government ministries, related to this initiative should not give any approval to Karnataka." The second resolution pledged support of all parties to steps of the Tamil Nadu government to stop initiatives to build the Mekedatu dam. Another resolution said, a delegation of all parties would give a copy of resolution to the Central government in person so as to reflect the unanimous opposition of Tamil Nadu people to the Mekedatu dam proposal.
The meeting also resolved to take all steps, including legal initiatives vis-a-vis the pending case in the top court, to halt the move by the neighbouring state. Representatives of DMK, AIADMK, Congress, BJP, PMK, MDMK, VCK, Left parties, MMK were among those who participated. Chief Secretary V Iraianbu, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan were present.