Karnataka Minister of Water Resources DK Shivakumar has written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami requesting him for a meeting. This comes a day after the government of Tamil Nadu filed a contempt plea in the Supreme Court against Central Water Commission (CWC) and DK Shivakumar over the Mekedatu reservoir. The CWC had earlier given Karnataka the permission to go ahead with the Detailed Project Report for the Mekedatu project.
Calling river Cauvery a lifeline for the people of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Shivakumar’s letter reads, “I wish to bring to your notice that the Government of Karnataka desires to have an amicable solution to the issue of the Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir cum Drinking Water Project.” Claiming that the Mekedatu project will help in curbing the flow of excess water from Mettur dam into the sea, the letter also states, “It appears that some misconceptions about the proposed project have occurred in the minds of the government and people of Tamil Nadu though the actual reality of the project is different.”
DK Shivakumar also requested an appointment from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to “present the project details and also to have discussion as indicated above.”
DK Shivakumar met the reporters on Thursday and said that the project was being considered only for the power needs of Karnataka and not for irrigation. Claiming that Tamil Nadu had the ‘upper hand’ in the matter, he said, “This project will help Tamil Nadu. Our benefit is just power resource. We will not take the water. This is our state’s right. That’s all and nothing more. We will not exploit this project for our own needs.” He also requested Tamil Nadu to not make the issue political.
Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday, moved a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against the CWC, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited and Karnataka Water Resource Minister DK Shivakumar for ‘wilful disobedience’ of the SC order on Cauvery water sharing. Slamming CWC, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited and the Water Resources Minister of Karnataka for their actions permitting and supporting the preparation of a Detailed Project Report on the Mekedatu project, the petition said that these actions by the respondents — CWC, Cauvery Water Management Authority, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited and Government of Karnataka — are in ‘utter disregard’ to the SC order on the matter.
On February 16, 2018, the Supreme Court in its final order, upheld previous Cauvery agreements that no new dam be built across the river without the consent of the lower riparian state, Tamil Nadu. “It is submitted that the orders passed by the Tribunal and this Hon’ble Court has clearly held that there is ample storage and therefore no new storage is required,” reads the petition and added that the proposal to build a new reservoir clearly amounted to contempt of Supreme Court’s order.