Interaction on ‘Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir construction: How far is it beneficial to Mysuru region’
Mysore/Mysuru: Maintaining that the Mekedatu project is beneficial to both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, M. Lakshmana, Chairman of Karnataka State Centre of The Institution of Engineers, said that the there is no point in Tamil Nadu’s objection to the project and the Union Government should give all necessary clearances without wasting any further.
He was speaking at an Interaction programme on ‘Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir construction-How far is it beneficial to Mysuru region,’ organised by The Institution of Engineers, Karnataka State Centre, at Ideal Jawa Rotary School on JLB Road here this morning.
Lakshmana presented a power-point presentation featuring details of the project and how it benefits Mysuru region and Tamil Nadu and other riparian States as well.
Maintaining that the Supreme Court in its order on Feb.16, 2018, clearly said that all the four riparian States can share 740 TMC of water and that every State has the right to store water that flows in their respective State, Lakshmana said that according to the water sharing formula, Tamil Nadu would get 404.25 TMC, Karnataka-284. 75 TMC, Kerala-30 TMC and Pondicherry-7 TMC.
Pointing out that the Mekedatu Reservoir across Cauvery River which is planned to build at a distance of 5 km away from the point where Hanur and Kanakapura taluks meet, Lakshmana said that the project, which was first conceived when S. Nijalingappa was the Chief Minister, has been lingering for decades since then.
Contending that the Siddharamaiah-led Congress Government first submitted the DPR (Detailed Project Report) to the Centre in 2017, when the project was estimated to cost Rs. 5,192 crore, he said that the Mekedatu Reservoir would be biggest one in terms of Cauvery water storage as it can store 67.14 TMC of water, which can cater to the drinking water needs of Bengaluru city and a few other districts of Old Mysuru region. The Centre then upon receiving the DPR, had returned it back seeking certain clarifications. Subsequently, the JD(S)-Congress coalition Government submitted a revised DPR of Rs. 9,000 crore on Jan.18, 2019 and since then, the Centre has remained silent on granting approval for the project. Claiming that the Centre had withheld the sanction due to the pressure of the previous AIADMK Government in Tamil Nadu, Lakshmana said that the Centre should ensure that the CWC (Central Water Commission) gives all clearance for the execution of this ambitious drinking water project of Karnataka.
Rolling out the technical specifications and other statistics related to the project, Lakshmana argued that the State Government nor the Centre need not wait for Tamil Nadu’s permission for the execution of the project.
Highlighting the huge benefits of Mekedatu Reservoir for Karnataka, Lakshmana said that the reservoir can alone hold 67.14 TMC of water, while the collective storage capacity of the rest of the four dams of Cauvery River — KRS, Hemavathi, Harangi and Kabini — is 115 TMC, with KRS accounting for 49 TMC. He further said that 400 MW of power can be locally generated from the project, which can be used for industrial needs of the region.
On environmental impact of the project, Lakshmana said that it has been estimated that a total of 5,086 acres, including 4,716 acres of forest land, 280 acres of Revenue land and 90 acres of private land, would submerge, he said that the Forest Department has been given alternate places in Uttara Kannada and Shivamogga districts for making up the loss of forest cover. Asserting that the Mekedatu forest is not a dense one and also there is not much wild life left in it, Lakshmana held that the project will have little impact on environment.
Accusing the State Government of doing little for the execution of the project, he said that the State should step up pressure on the Centre, CWC and the Union Environment Ministry for giving all necessary clearances. The Centre should dismiss any objections by Tamil Nadu and go ahead for granting approval to Karnataka for the execution of the project, he added.
Replying to a question on activist Medha Patkar’s opposition to the project, Lakshmana dismissed Medha’s stand and said that the Congress will take Medha to the project site and explain her about the benefits of the project for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Institution of Engineers Hon. Secretary Dr. Enti Ranga Reddy, MCCI President A.S.Satish, farmer leader Hoskote Basavaraj, City Congress President R. Murthy and others were present.