The Cauvery River Dispute is explained in detail. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are at loggerheads over the Mekedatu project.
Mekedatu Project: The Mekedatu project, which will be built on the Kaveri river, has sparked a dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Mekedatu Project: The Cauvery River water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is an ongoing one. The issue has been unresolved for years now. The governments of the two states went to court several times but were unable to find a solution to the matter. The problem has now taken a new turn. Puducherry, a union territory, has teamed up with Tamil Nadu, which is opposed to Karnataka's Mekedatu project on the Cauvery River. What is the true source of this disagreement between these states? What is Tamil Nadu's objection to the Mekedatu Dam? Let's see what we can find out.
Where is the Mekedatu project?
Mekedatu is 90 kilometres from Bangalore and 4 kilometres from the Tamil Nadu border in the Ramanagara district. The Karnataka government presented a thorough report to the Centre in early 2019 on plans to build a reservoir at Mekedatu. Karnataka plans to spend over Rs 9,000 crore on the project. This dam is being seen as a potential source of drinking water for Bangalore residents. The dam, which would be built near the confluence of the Cauvery and its tributary, the Arkavathi, will have a capacity of 66,000 TMC. Karnataka has also planned to build a 400-megawatt power plant.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa addressed a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin earlier this month (July), requesting his assistance in the project. For a long time, Tamil Nadu has been opposed to the proposal. However, Yeddyurappa attempted to reassure Stalin through a letter that the project would not pose a problem for Tamil Nadu. According to the letter, the project will enable them to obtain a portion of the Cauvery waters. He stated that it was being constructed for the benefit of everybody, and he emphasised the need for good ties between the two states. Tamil Nadu political outfits and the government, on the other hand, have raised their objections to the proposal.
Conflicts from the front:
For more than a century, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at odds over the Cauvery waters. In the Madras Presidency, the British administration started measures to develop irrigation systems on the Cauvery River in 1892. The royal family of Mysore denied this. Since then, these debates have raged on.
The allotment of Cauvery waters to various states was agreed upon in 1924, paving the stage for the building of the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam. The deal was signed for a period of 50 years. Meanwhile, the dispute has resurfaced when Tamil Nadu asked the Centre to establish a tribunal to adjudicate on water allocation between the states. In 1990, the tribunal was established. In 2007, the final allocations were made. Tamil Nadu received 419 TMCs, Karnataka 270 TMCs, Kerala 30 TMCs, and Puducherry 7 TMCs from the tribunal.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, on the other hand, have voiced unhappiness over the allotment. In both states, there were protests and violence. The Supreme Court was eventually forced to intervene in the case. In 2018, the court decided that Karnataka would receive 14.75 TMCs from Tamil Nadu's portion. Tamil Nadu will receive 404 TMCs from the revised allotment, while Karnataka will receive 284.75 TMCs. The shares of Kerala and Puducherry remained unchanged.
Tamil Nadu appeals to the Center:
The Karnataka administration has lately made it abundantly clear to Tamil Nadu that development on the Mekedatu project will not be halted. Karnataka maintains that it is their right to proceed with the project's construction. On the matter, the Karnataka Chief Minister met with Union Water Energy Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, is pleading with the Centre not to approve the project.
CM Stalin also handed Prime Minister Modi a letter in this regard. Tamil Nadu also plans to meet up with the water minister in an all-party meeting and file a protest against Karnataka. During Palaniswami's time as state chief minister of Tamil Nadu, the project was challenged in the Supreme Court. The Union Territory of Puducherry has also claimed that if the project is finished, its portion of water will be in jeopardy.
The issues raised might extend beyond politics and agriculture. Environmentalists are afraid that the project, which is being built on the boundary between the Chamaraja Nagar and Ramanagara districts, could seriously harm the ecosystem. The Cauvery Sanctuary and surrounding catchment regions are in danger of sinking as a result of this project. According to non-governmental organisations, the project will have an impact on the environment in the Bannerghatta National Park and Chamarajanagar forests. In these conditions, it is unclear how the Centre will decide the issue.