Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has been continuously conveying its strong objections to Karnataka and the Union Government on the proposal of constructing a reservoir at Mekedatu across River Cauvery from the time, when Karnataka unilaterally submitted a feasibility report of the project, with a capacity of 67.16 TMCft.
Moving the demand for grants for his department in the State Assembly on Wednesday, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said The Tamil Nadu Government was taking all necessary action including legal action to prevent Karnataka from constructing the dam at Mekedatu or any other place, in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka, in violation of the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the Judgment of the Supreme Court and to safeguard the rights of Tamil Nadu.
He said when Karnataka had submitted the feasibility report, the Central Water Commission (CWC) had on November 22, 2018 granted permission to it for preparation of Detailed Poject Report (DPR) following which Tamil Nadu moved the Supreme Court on November 30, 2018 seeking to restrain the neighbouring state from preparing the DPR.
Mr Duraimurugan said a contempt petition was also filed by Tamil Nadu on December 5, 2018 against the officials concerned and these cases are pending before the Supreme Court.
Despite Tamil Nadu’s objections, the Karnataka government approached the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change for approval of Terms of Reference (ToR) for Environment Impact Assessment / Environment Management Plan (EIA/EMP) studies.
Based on the objections of Tamil Nadu, MoEF & CC has informed Karnataka to get the consensus of Tamil Nadu. Further, based on the strong objections raised by the Tamil Nadu member in the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) meetings to defer discussion of the project, as the matter is sub judice, it was not taken up.
In the meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal (Southern Zone) suo moto took up the issue of construction at Mekedatu Project site based on the newspaper report and had on May 21, 2021 ordered to from a Committee to check on any construction activity without obtaining necessary clearance, which was disposed off by the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench New Delhi on June 17, 2021 citing that the matter is sub judice.
Since Tamil Nadu was not given an opportunity to file its reply, it filed a Civil Appeal against the above order in the Supreme Court on August 11, 2021 and this case is pending.