Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to his Karnataka counterpart BS Yediyurappa on Sunday, July 4, asking him not to pursue the Mekedatu project, stating that the project will jeopardise the availability of water to Tamil Nadu. Stalin was responding to a letter from the Karnataka Chief Minister who urged Tamil Nadu not to oppose the Mekedatu project and said that the proposed project will benefit both the states immensely. In his letter, Yediyurappa had reminded Stalin that Karnataka was not consulted when the Tamil Nadu government planned power projects at Kundaha and Sillahalla on the main river below Mettur.
In his response, Stalin said that the Tamil Nadu government’s hydropower projects at Kundaha and Sillahalla cannot be compared with the Mekedatu project, saying that the comparison between qualitatively different projects is not appropriate. Stalin said, “On the issue of the Mekedatu balancing reservoir, I wish to state that the comparison of the project intended for storing 67.16 TMC water with the two hydropower projects of TN would not be correct. There is no consumption of water in these two hydropower projects since water is just re-circulated by pumping to meet peak power demand.”
“Since there is no additional usage created, both the projects do not affect the availability of water for irrigation or drinking usage in TN,” he added. Further, Stalin clarified that the state will not accept that the implementation of the Mekedatu project would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu's farming community. He said, “In the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which has been modified by the Supreme Court, the three components contributing to the annual quantum of water to be delivered by Karnataka at the inter-state contact point has been clearly identified. The proposed Mekedatu project would impound and divert the first component of uncontrolled flows due to Tamil Nadu. Therefore, the view that the implementation of the Mekedatu project would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu's farming community cannot be agreed to by us.”
Stalin then said that using Bengaluru Metropolitan City’s water usage as a reason for constructing such a major reservoir at Mekedatu does not sound valid. “When Karnataka already has adequate infrastructure for drawing drinking water to meet the demand of Bengaluru Metropolitan area even now, the justification of the need for a reservoir with a storage capacity of 67.16 TMC to utilise 4.75 TMC as drinking water is not at all acceptable. This would definitely jeopardise the availability of water to Tamil Nadu,” he said.
The Tamil Nadu CM urged Yediyurappa to not continue with the project and said that he earnestly hoped for a good relationship between the two states. The Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir on the Cauvery River was proposed to store and supply drinking water for Bengaluru city at the cost of Rs 9,000 crore.