The Tamil Nadu government Wednesday objected to a Central committee's decision to discuss Karnataka's proposal to construct a dam across the Cauvery at Mekedatu, saying it is "clear violation" of the final order of a disputes tribunal and the Supreme Court. The objection by the state government comes ahead of the July 19 meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydro electric Projects.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami opposed the committee for including Karnataka's proposal for grant of fresh terms of reference to the Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir and Drinking Water Project in its meeting. The committee comes under the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry.
In identical letters to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Palaniswami pointed out that he had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. He said he had then sought Modi's intervention for denying permission to Karnataka's proposal for grant of terms of reference for environmental clearance for the project.
Palaniswami said it was brought to his notice that the committee has included Karntaka's proposal for grant of fresh terms of reference to the project in its meeting scheduled on July 19. "The action of the committee to include the proposal of Karnataka for discussion in the meeting is a violation of the Notified Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the judgment of the Supreme Court," he said.
Tamil Nadu has been conveying its "strong objections" and has been urging the Centre to reject outright Karnataka's proposed Mekedatu Project, "as it violates the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court," he said. Further, Karnataka has not obtained prior concurrence of the government of Tamil Nadu and of other co-basin states, the chief minister said.
"Cauvery basin being a deficit basin, construction of Mekedatu or any project in any place by upper riparian state will drastically affect the lower riparian state in getting its due share of water," he said. He recalled the state government having filed an interlocutory application before the Supreme Court against Karnataka's proposal and also a contempt petition against all concerned.
In his letter to Javadekar, Palaniswami urged that the central committee be instructed to withdraw the subject of grant of fresh terms of reference to Karnataka for Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir and Drinking Water Project from its July 19 meeting agenda. "The committee may also be directed to desist from entertaining the proposal of Karnataka in future and the present proposal may be rejected and returned," he added.
He urged Shekhawat to take up the matter with Javadekar. Palaniswami also requested him to instruct the Ministry of Jal Shakti to not accord any clearance to the project as well as any other in the Cauvery Basin contemplated by Karnataka, without obtaining the prior concurrence of Tamil Nadu and of other co-basin states.
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