'We have got every right and are going to start work': CM on Mekedatu project

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(Eds: Updating with Union Jalshakti Minister Shekhawat's quote) Bengaluru, Jul 13 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday asserted that the state has every right to implement the Mekedatu project across river Cauvery and would start work, as the Union Jalshakti Minister assured 'justice' to the state with regard to pending projects.

The Chief Minister held discussions with Union Jalshakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat here today and sought clearances from the Centre for implementing Mekedatu and other irrigation projects in the state.

'I don't want to discuss about Tamil Nadu or any other state. We have got every right and we are going to start the work,' Yediyurappa said in response to a question on Tamil Nadu's objection to the Mekedatu project.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said detailed discussions took place on irrigation projects in the state, including Mekedatu.

'Definitely in the coming days we are going to complete all the projects and he (union minister) is going to help from the centre in all respects...

Shekhawat assured the state that all issues with regard to providing clearances from the Centre for implementation of the projects would be resolved, the Chief Minister said.

The discussions were on the gazette notification of the Krishna tribunal award, Environment Ministry clearance for the Mekedatu project, Upper Krishna Project, Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project, implementation of Yettinahole project, among others.

Shekhawat said all irrigation projects relating to Karnataka were discussed in the meeting with the CM and Ministers and the progress of Jal Jeevan Mission progress was also reviewed.

'I have assured the state of Karnataka and CM to look into projects which are pending, specially the Mekedatu project.' 'I have assured that we will look deep into the issues pertaining to Karnataka. We will organise a meeting in Delhi, after having studied all these things.

I assure that justice will be given to the state of Karnataka,' he added.

State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the CM apprised the Union Minister about the Mekedatu issue and urged him to expedite clearances pending before the union Government.

'The Detailed Project Report has been submitted to the Central Water Commission and it has been referred to the Cauvery Monitoring Committee.

The union minister is aware of the whole issue and has promised to look into and give justice to Karnataka,' he said.

Karnataka's assertion comes a day after the all-party meeting called by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin flayed attempts by Karnataka to build the dam at Mekedatu and urged the union government to not accord sanction for the proposal.

Earlier in the day, referring to the meeting between the CM and the union Minister, Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar in a tweet said '...we hope that date of initiation of Mekedatu Project will be finalised.

This project represents hope for Karnataka, and we expect CM will leave no stone unturned to fulfil it!' Yediyurappa had earlier written to Stalin, urging him not to oppose the Mekedatu project in the right spirit and offered to hold a bilateral meeting to address any issues.

In response,Stalin had urged Yediyurappa not to pursue the project, as he rejected Karnataka's stand that it's implementation would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers.

Karnataka has maintained that the project within its territory will benefit both states as the surplus water stored can be managed between the two during the distress year, and its implementation will in no way affect the interests of Tamil Nadu's farming communities, as there will be no impact on its share of water.

The neighboring state, however, is of the view that the project would 'impound and divert' the uncontrolled water flow due to Tamil Nadu from Kabini sub-basin, the catchment area below Krishnarajasagara, and also from Simsha, Arkavathy and Suvarnavathi sub-basins besides other small streams.

Also, according to Tamil Nadu, as per the Supreme Court verdict, no construction across Cauvery should be taken up without consulting the lower riparian states.

Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.

The project, once completed, is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighboring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power and is estimated to cost Rs 9,000 crore. PTI KSU APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR

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