Karnataka to seek nod for Mekedatu project

Caught in a row:The Mekedatu balancing reservoir has been proposed to store water for drinking purposes.File photo  

The State government is likely to take a delegation, headed by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, to bring pressure on the Centre to approve the construction of the Mekedatu balancing reservoir that has been proposed to impound water for drinking purposes.

The Rs. 9,000-crore project, approved by the State government in 2017, has received approval from the Union Water Resources Ministry for the detailed project report (DPR) and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) even as Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court against the project.

Speaking after visiting the proposed reservoir site near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district, Major and Medium Irrigation Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said that with additional ground reports and data, he will meet Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar either on September 16 or 17.

“We are thinking about taking a delegation headed by the CM,” he said, adding that work on the project will commence after getting the Centre’s approval.

Mr. Jarkiholi also referred to his earlier meetings in November 2019 and this July seeking approvals for the reservoir project.

The Minister on Monday visited Ontigondlu, the proposed reservoir site, in the midst of Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Minister said that 5,051 hectares of forests will be submerged and it includes 3,181 hectares in the sanctuary and 1,870 hectares in the reserve forest.

“The approval from MOEF is crucial since 63% of the forest area that will be submerged is in the sanctuary,” he added.

Referring to the current status, Mr. Jarkiholi said that the State submitted a DPR to the Centre in January 2019, and it is currently being reviewed by various directorates in the Central Water Commission.

“Once approvals are received, the DPR will be placed before the Cabinet for approval and tender process will follow,” he added.

The Minister also said that 4.75 tmcft of water can be drawn from the reservoir to partially meet the needs of Bengaluru and that it will not affect the flow of water to Tamil Nadu.

Fact sheet

  • Reservoir to come up in Muggur and Hanur forest areas of Ramanagaram

  • It will have a span of 674.5 metres and a height of 441.2 metres

  • Total storage will be 67.17 tmcft of water of which 7.7 tmcft will be dead storage capacity

  • Original project cost: about Rs. 6,000 crore.

    Current cost: Rs. 9,000 crore