Cauvery water row: Centre to call meeting of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu chief ministers to discuss Mekedatu dam issue

New Delhi: The Centre has decided to call a meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu chief ministers soon to discuss the proposed Mekedatu dam on the Cauvery river, an issue which led to stalling of Parliament proceedings last week.

The proposed dam project in Mekedatu in Karnataka, is being opposed by Tamil Nadu which argues that it will affect its farmers.

File photo of Mettur dam. PTI

File photo of Mettur dam. PTI

The issue was discussed in detail by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in a meeting with Union Water Resources and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday here.

"In the meeting, Gadkari said he was convinced that the Mekedatu project will benefit Tamil Nadu. The minister also assured that he will direct his officials to fix a meeting of chief ministers of the two states at the earliest," an official spokesperson of the Karnataka government told reporters.

The Mahadayi water dispute between Karnataka and Goa was also discussed in the meeting, but the Union minister said the matter is in court, he said.

Gadkari has said he will call the meeting of chief ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to discuss the implementation of the project, according to an official statement issued by the Karnataka government.

The Karnataka chief minister during the meeting brought to Gadkari's notice that Tamil Nadu has raised objection against the project though it is beneficial to both states, especially for Tamil Nadu, the statement added.

He also requested Gadkari to resolve the issue by calling the meetings of the chief ministers. "Gadkari obliged to call a meeting accordingly," it said.

On the Mahadayi issue, the Goa government has approached the Supreme Court and Kumaraswamy said this has obstructed his state from using its share of water. Hence, the chief minister appealed to Gadkari to discuss the issue with Goa and resolve it, the statement said.

Kumaraswamy told PTI that "we have asked the Centre to call for a meeting with the Tamil Nadu government so that the (Mekedatu dam) issue can be resolved."

With the two main Tamil Nadu parties — AIADMK and DMK — protesting in Parliament opposing the Mekedatu project, Karnataka lawmakers, cutting across party lines, have planned an agitation Thursday in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex to counter the two parties.

Tamil Nadu has been protesting the project after the Centre recently asked the Karnataka government to prepare a detailed project report for the Mekedatu dam.

The AIADMK and the DMK are agitating in both Houses of Parliament pressing for the scrapping of the proposed dam project.

The Tamil Nadu government has also appealed in the Supreme Court on the matter.

Kumaraswamy's brother and PWD Minister HD Revanna, as well as Karnataka Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar, were also present in the meeting in Delhi.

Besides, these two water disputes, the Karnataka chief minister also discussed with the Union minister about the pending national highway projects in the state.

He sought commencement of the construction of the six-lane Bengaluru-Mysuru Road, for which the Karnataka government has already acquired 85 per cent of the required land.

The chief minister requested Gadkari to direct the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to expedite preparation of the Detailed Project Report for construction of the Bengaluru-Hassan section of the NH-75, complete the work between Hassan to Gundya via Sakaleshpura (NH-75) and four-laning of the NH-206 from Tumkur-Honnavara.

He sought the construction of a four-lane divided carriageway between Hassan to Holenarasipur and sanction of a six-lane elevated highway in Hassan town limit on Belur-Bilikere of the NH-373.

Kumaraswamy also sought the upgradation of state highway from Channrayapatna-Holenarisipura-Arkalgudu-Kodlipet-Medikere as a national highway as it connects the Kannur International Airport which was opened very recently in Kerala.

The chief minister also demanded improvement and reconstruction of two lanes with paved shoulders from 456.35 kilometres to 489.84 kilometres from Belur to Hassan of the NH-374 as well as approval of strengthening of various roads required in view of taking upgradation of national highway NH-4 for inter-state connectivity.

Kumaraswamy is in Delhi for two days. He is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other Union ministers Thursday.

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Updated Date: Dec 26, 2018 23:56 PM

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