Yediyurappa advised to approach Centre to stop Tamil Nadu’s river inter-linking project

Water wrangle: The Mekedatu dam project has remained a flash point in Tamil Nadu-Karnataka relations for decades.  

The Chairman of the Karnataka Border and Rivers Protection Commission has advised the State government to approach the Union government to restrain Tamil Nadu from taking up its project of inter-linking the Cauvery with the Gundar and the Vaigai till Karnataka’s legitimate share of surplus water is determined.

K.L. Manjunath, chairman of the commission and former judge of the High Court of Karnataka, in his letter dated June 18 addressed to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, said Karnataka also had to approach the the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to settle equitable distribution of the Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by way of an amicable settlement.

Need to adjudicate

If Tamil Nadu is not agreeable for amicable settlement, then the issue of surplus water would have to be adjudicated in terms of Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, he suggested to the Chief Minister.

The proposed Mekedatu project, Mr. Manjunath said, would not come in the way of Tamil Nadu receiving its due share of 177.25 tmcft water from Karnataka as Tamil Nadu government had recently admitted before the Madras High Court that it is getting “excess water” released from reservoirs in Karnataka, which could not store “excess water”.

Analysing the data of water released from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu since 1974–75, Mr. Manjunath said that on an average Karnataka had released 396.201 tmcft of water at Biligundlu gauge point every year. The water released data discloses that out of 46 years only in 2016–17 there was a shortfall of 50 tmcft of water released to Tamil Nadu, and for the remaining 45 years, Tamil Nadu had received surplus water, he said.

Exception in 8 years

Of the 45 years, only in eight years surplus water released was in the range of more than 177 tmcft and less than 300 tmcft, and for the remaining years always more than double the water allocated to Tamil Nadu was released, said Mr. Manjunath while pointing out that average flow of water into Mettur dam was 377.1 tmcft for 38 years since 1934–35.

Pointing out that neither the tribunal nor the Supreme Court considered how surplus water in a year has to be utilised by the riparian States, he said water released from Karnataka at Biligundlu gauge point is the water generated from Karnataka and that surplus water has to be allocated and distributed between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, in which event Karnataka can mitigate its problem of drinking water and agricultural purposes.

Stating that as per the Supreme Court judgment, a riparian State cannot use surplus water, he contended that “State of Tamil Nadu is enjoying surplus water received by it and is also trying to divert the water from Mettur dam to other basins”.

“Tamil Nadu has not right to take up the project of inter-linking of rivers unless and until the equitable share of surplus water is determined by the competent authority,” he said in the letter.


Into sea

“Otherwise, the [surplus] water flown has to be discharged into the sea and the same cannot be made use of by Tamil Nadu unless and until its due share is allocated by way of equitable distribution,” Mr. Manjunath said while pointing out that Tamil Nadu is enjoying surplus water for the past 45 years without giving its due share to Karnataka.

“State of Tamil Nadu, in order to enjoy surplus water alone, is unnecessarily objecting for construction of Mekedatu project by the State of Karnataka,” said Mr. Manjunath.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 8:46:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/panel-head-advises-yediyurappa-to-approach-centre-to-stop-tamil-nadus-river-inter-linking-project/article34861995.ece

Next Story