Seeks permission for Mekedatu project
New Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Saturday called Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and requested him to expedite the approval for Mekedatu project, which is aimed at constructing a balancing reservoir across River Cauvery at Mekedatu close to Tamil Nadu border near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district.
The Union Minister assured Kumaraswamy that he would convene a meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers to explore an amicable solution to the Mekedatu project row.
Shekhawat told the Karnataka CM that he would speak to the Prime Minister on the issue and convene a meeting of the Chief Ministers at the earliest.
CM and his Tamil Nadu counterpart E.K. Palaniswami, who were in New Delhi to attend the NITI Ayog meeting, met the Union Minister separately.
While Kumaraswamy requested Shekhawat to give early approval for the project, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister requested him to reject the proposal.
The Central Water Commission (CWC), a nodal agency under the Union Ministry of Water Resources, had cleared the pre-feasibility report submitted by the Karnataka Government and asked the State to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR). Karnataka later prepared the DPR and sent it to the CWC for final approval, following which the CWC sent the DPR to Tamil Nadu for its opinion. Tamil Nadu has not submitted its opinion so far.
Kumaraswamy also appealed the Jal Shakti Minister to approve the Mahadayi Project. Shekhawat, on his part said he would call the Chief Minister of all Mahadayi Basin States — Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, to resolve the dispute on sharing of river water soon.
Replying to a request by the Karnataka CM to notify Mahadayi Dispute Tribunal and Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal awards, Shekhawat said he would convene a meeting of officials concerned on notifying the two awards.
CM calls on Modi
CM Kumaraswamy, who was in Delhi to attend the NITI Ayog meeting on Saturday, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought Central assistance to take up relief works in drought hit areas.
Requesting the Prime Minister to release Rs. 1,500 crore under the MNREGA scheme to the State at the earliest, the CM informed Modi that the State was facing drought this year too, with the State receiving 45 percent deficit in rainfall.
The CM also told Modi that the State Government in its memorandum to the Centre before the Lok Sabha polls had sought financial assistance of Rs. 2,064 crore to provide relief to farmers hit by drought.
Kumaraswamy later met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested her to recruit candidates knowing the regional language for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).
Pointing out that the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPs) which recruits staff to Banks through a common recruitment process has diluted the provision of knowing local languages for candidates, Kumaraswamy maintained that the dilution not only deprives regional language speaking candidates of getting job but also proves a hurdle for banks in providing better service.