Why is this project a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

Karnataka plans to build a balancing reservoir or a garage dam constructed downstream of the primary reservoir to seize extra water that flows out – over the river Cauvery

From padayatras to court docket battles, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have had their justifiable share of water wars. After the century-old Cauvery water-sharing dispute was once settled through a tribunal, now Mekedatu, a consuming water reservoir project, is the brand new bone of contention now not simply between each states, but additionally the Bharatiya Janata Birthday party and the Congress.

Karnataka plans to build a balancing reservoir or a garage dam constructed downstream of the primary reservoir to seize extra water that flows out – over the river Cauvery. Estimated to price round Rs 9,000 crore, Karnataka believes it could unravel the consuming water scarcity within the districts of Bengaluru and Ramanagara and additionally generate hydroelectricity to fulfill the ability wishes of the state.

BJP VS Congress

Launching an assault at the ruling BJP in Karnataka, the Congress is on a five-day padayatra masking 170 km and about 15 meeting constituencies. Going with the slogan “Namma Neeru Namma Hakku (our water, our proper)”, the birthday celebration was once pressured to quickly droop the protest on January 13 owing to the emerging numbers of Covid-19 circumstances within the state.

Resuming the protest, Congress is challenging the explanations at the back of the extend within the project whilst highlighting the water disaster.

Main the March, Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar spoke completely to News18. He mentioned when the Congress was once in energy, it submitted the detailed project file (DPR) to the Centre.

“This double-engine BJP government has been using delayed government tactics on the project. Mekedatu is very important to Bengaluru as it is an international city. We have waited long enough. People are asking the ruling BJP to act or they will teach them a lesson,” Shivakumar mentioned.

Reacting to the protest, the Karnataka BJP referred to as the padayatra political drama. Leader minister Basavaraj Bommai requested other people to not give significance to the Congress protests being performed for “political features”.

“The Congress leaders are neatly conscious of the project’s fact. This padayatra is just for political features. They failed to arrange even the detailed project file once they have been in energy and now they query the federal government?” Bommai mentioned whilst chatting with journalists in Hubballi on Monday.

“So will you call Advani’s Rath Yatra, Chandrashekhar’s yatra, Deve Gowda’s yatra or Gandhiji’s padayatra also political dramas? We are fighting for the people of Karnataka and the BJP will have no other option but to respond to this,” Shivakumar spoke back.

Chatting with News18, former Congress minister Krishna Byre Gowda slammed the federal government for dragging its toes.

“Bengaluru is a global city. It should be nurtured as it is the lifeline for Karnataka and its development. It is the goose that lays the golden egg and Mekedatu is about saving this very city and its people. It is about providing water to all and it should be taken up immediately,” he added.

What is the Mekedatu project?

Named after the village the place the project is anticipated to be built, the reservoir could have a capability of 284,000 million cubic toes (TMC). It is proposed to be constructed over the Cauvery river, which is why Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing it.

Mekedatu in Kannada interprets to “goat’s soar”. Legend has it that a goat was once being chased through a tiger and, in an try to save its personal existence, the goat leapt throughout this gorge, leaving the tiger helpless. They declare the marks of its hooves are nonetheless discovered printed on the rocks. Locals consider that the goat was once none rather then an incarnation of Lord Shiva and thus the identify Mekedatu.

This project was once first deliberate through the Karnataka Energy Company in 1996 on the location to offer hydroelectricity to Bengaluru and the encompassing districts.

The project went into chilly garage till it was once as soon as once more revived through the Congress Executive in Karnataka in 2013. The renewed project proposed developing a multi-purpose balancing reservoir, which might assist unravel the consuming water scarcity within the districts of Bengaluru and Ramanagara and additionally generate hydroelectricity to fulfill the ability wishes of the state.

In 2019, Karnataka submitted a DPR to the Centre on its plans to build the reservoir in Ramanagara, about 90km clear of Bengaluru and 4km forward of the border with Tamil Nadu.

On the other hand, development a dam over Mekedatu is now not simply an inter-state dispute anymore. The Congress and BJP in Karnataka at the moment are the usage of the extend in implementation of the project to focus on every different with the state headed in opposition to elections in 2023.

Parched Bengaluru

Consistent with a 2021 file, Karnataka at a Look through the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Bengaluru’s city inhabitants was once 96.21 lakh in 2011 and was once projected to upward push to at least one.42 crore through 2021. Situated in a semi-arid peninsular plateau area, the town is based closely on two rivers, Cauvery and Arkavathi to fulfill its water wishes.

Bangalore Water Provide and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) calculates the call for for water to be 1,400 million in keeping with day (MLD).

On the other hand, there were a number of studies claiming that Bengaluru will cross dry in the following couple of a long time.

BBC reported in 2018 that Bengaluru was once one of the towns most likely to achieve “floor 0″ prerequisites quickly and districts surrounding the capital town like Kolar and Ramanagara will face an acute scarcity of consuming water.

An research through the Centre for Science and Surroundings (CSE) additionally discovered that the entire quantity of extraction wells within the town had shot up from 5,000 to 4,50,000 prior to now 30 years.

News18 spoke to S Vishwanath of Bengaluru-based Biome Environmental Accept as true with, a professional in water-related problems, who emphasized that the placement is now not as grim because it made it glance.

“Bengaluru manages to get 1,400 to at least one,450 MLD water every day and some other 775 MLD shall be supplied as soon as the Cauvery 5th level is applied. If other people use water judiciously, reuse handled water and arrange the rain and groundwater higher, we see no scarcity in any respect,” he mentioned.

When requested if the Mekedatu project is vital at this time, Vishwanath mentioned it is now not pressing if it is to handle Bengaluru’s water woes.

“If you happen to have a look at Mekedatu from the environmental point of view, it is vastly harmful to the Cauvery natural world and river existence. If we’re having a look at offering consuming water for better City Bangalore, it supplies an extra cushion,” he mentioned.

Stories through entities like NITI Aayog claiming that Bengaluru shall be amongst India’s 21 towns to expire of groundwater quickly sound alarmist, he mentioned. “A city is designed to consume 135 litres per capita per day. If we design it for 100 litres per capita per day in Bengaluru, we will not have water problems for another 30 years,” mentioned Vishwanath.

The tragedy is that it is a narrative like the only set through NITI Aayog that drives those types of protests, he added.

Tamil Nadu’s stand

Over time, talks and negotiations have failed between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka at the Mekedatu project. Tamil Nadu has been company on its stand, declaring that Karnataka has no proper to come to a decision at the Mekedatu project till a no-objection certificates is acquired from the opposite riparian states comparable to Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Consistent with TN’s water sources minister Duraimurugan, the paperwork submitted through the Karnataka govt to the Central Water Fee (CWC) on why the Mekedatu project will have to be allowed was once now not simply “fallacious” but additionally “unfair”.

Duraimurugan visited New Delhi two times to provoke upon the Centre that Karnataka will have to now not be allowed to head forward with the project.

Karnataka, alternatively, has made its stand transparent. “We can practice what the CWC has mentioned and don’t need to get into petty politics through TN,” mentioned a senior BJP minister on situation of anonymity.

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