New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) A meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers will be convened by Union Water Resources Ministry to discuss the issue of controversial Cauvery river project at Mekedatu, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said on Thursday.
Talking to reporters here, he said this assurance was given by Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari when he met him and made a request in this regard.
Kumaraswamy said the irrigation ministers of the two states will also be part of the meeting which may be convened in 10 to 15 days.
He said he has suggested that the matter be resolved through mutual discussion as a legal approach may not be able to solve the issue.
He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with him for the clearance given by the Central Water Commission for the detailed project report (DPR) on the reservoir which, he said, would benefit Tamil Nadu more than Karnataka.
Karnataka has sought the Central government’s approval to build a dam at Mekedatu on the river near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district, about 100km southwest of Bengaluru, for storing and supplying its water to the parched districts of Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts.
Objecting to the project fearing denial of its share of the river water, Tamil Nadu has also petitioned the Central government and the Supreme Court not to allow Karnataka to build the balancing reservoir at the goat’s leap gorge.
As sharing the river water for agriculture and drinking in the state’s old Mysuru region became contentious, leading to the apex court modifying the inter-state dispute tribunal award, storing it (water) at Mekedatu for drinking only has turned into a protracted legal and political battle.
The project is estimated to cost the state a whopping Rs 5,192 crore.
Tamil Nadu has also disputed Karnataka’s claim on the project’s purpose, as storing the river water will allow it generate hydel power and thus restrict its flow into its delta region.
Kumaraswamy also sought Gadkari’s intervention to make Goa allow Karnataka utilise the Mahadayi river water for drinking purpose in the four drought-prone districts in the state’s northwest region.