A few members of the Parliament from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) met Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of the Mekedatu Dam, as proposed by the Karnataka government, and handed over DMK chief's MK Stalin’s letter. Stalin, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, expressed disappointment over the construction of the dam across Cauvery river in Mekedatu.
In the letter to Narendra Modi, Stalin requested him to instruct the Central Ministries concerned to not give approval for the construction of Mekedatu dam, as proposed by the neighbouring state of Karnataka.
"I am disappointed that the Chief Minister of Karnataka, during his meeting with you, demanded early approvals and clearances for irrigation and drinking water projects, including over Mekedatu, despite the strongest opposition from the state of Tamil Nadu," wrote Stalin.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami, too, had earlier written to Narendra Modi, opposing the dam, stating that the proposed project would “affect the natural flows of the river Cauvery and nullifies the final adjudication”.
Built at a cost of Rs 5,912 crore, the multi-purpose balancing reservoir project over Mekedatu is proposed to solve the drinking water problems in Karnataka, including Bengaluru and Ramanagara districts, and to generate hydroelectricity in order to help meet the power demand in the state. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) was submitted to the Union government in January 2019. Karnataka givernment is now awaiting the environmental clearance for the project.
Stalin, in his letter, noted that the proposed reservoir is in total violation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal dated February 5, 2007 as well as the judgement of the Supreme Court of India dated February 16, 2018. Stalin also added that the project is completely detrimental to the interest of farmers and the drinking water needs of the common people in Tamil Nadu.
In the letter, Stalin mentioned, "The farmers and people of Tamil Nadu have been consistently and persistently opposing the construction of Mekedatu dam in Karnataka across the Cauvery river, and in fact, unanimous resolutions were passed in the state Assembly, disapproving the above reservoir project against all the norms of the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act."
He noted that the civil appeal filed by the state of Tamil Nadu, seeking a restraining order on the proposal, is pending before the Supreme Court and the subject matter is sub judice.
"The proposed Mekedatu dam, under the guise of drinking water purpose, would irreparably and irreversibly affect the flow of water from Cauvery river to the lower riparian states, particularly Tamil Nadu, and also threatens the very existence of many combined water supply schemes catering to the needs of lakhs of people. Very importantly, it would drastically disturb and affect the distribution of water to Tamil Nadu as per the allocation of water in the final order notified in the Gazette," he wrote.