Karnataka awaiting Centre’s nod for Mekedatu project

Bengaluru: The  state government is only awaiting the Centre’s approval to  go  ahead with the controversial Mekedatu project, according to Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar.  While Karnataka is keen on building a reservoir across the Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk for its needs, Tamil Nadu has been crying foul, saying this will deprive it of its share of the river’s water.    But speaking to reporters here on Thursday, the minister claimed Karnataka expected a positive reply soon from the Union government for the Rs 6,000-crore project, which would help it store 63 tmcft of water. 

Claiming that the project would help both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the minister said that it required around 4,000 acres of forest, agriculture and revenue land. “We are trying to convince farmers of my  Kanakapura constituency to give up some of their land for it too as the project will benefit them as well,” he said, revealing that  the government had approached the Union Ministry of Forests, Science and Ecology for its consent too as a portion of the forest in Hanur was also required for the project.   

Mr Shivakumar  said  Karnataka had so far released 310 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, thanks to heavy rains in the Cauvery basin.  There were plans to set up a vigilance squad to check unauthorised drawing of water from canals by farmers in some areas as this left little water for the tail-end farmers, he  said. “We will ask  Home Minister, Dr G Parameshwar to post police along the canal to prevent water theft,” he said.

On the BJP predicting the fall of the  coalition government,  he said it had nothing better to do than make such claims. “We are confident that the coalition government will complete its term of five years. The Kumaraswamy government is  pro-people. It  has waived crop loan to the tune of Rs 48,000 crore,” he pointed out. 

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