Tamil Nadu Opposition AIADMK stages walkout over CWMA discussing Karnataka’s Mekedatu dam plan

Led by Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami, the AIADMK members walked out of the House saying they were not satisfied with the reply of Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan.

ByPTI

Published Feb 23, 2024 | 8:52 AMUpdatedFeb 23, 2024 | 8:52 AM

As many as four cases filed by Tamil Nadu were pending before the Supreme Court on the Mekedatu issue (Karthik Prabhu/Wikimedia Commons)

Tamil Nadu’s main Opposition AIADMK on Wednesday staged a walkout from the Assembly after raising the issue of the recent ‘discussion’ on the Mekedatu dam proposal of Karnataka in a meeting held by the Cauvery Water Management Authority.

Led by Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami, the AIADMK members walked out of the House saying they were not satisfied with the reply of Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan.

During zero hour, Palaniswami moving a call attention motion said it was a matter of anguish that in the 28th meeting of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on 1 February, Karnataka’s proposed Mekedatu dam project was taken up for discussion. Details, however, were not known.

In his reply, Duraimurugan said a senior Tamil Nadu official at the level of Secretary (Water Resources) opposed discussion on Mekedatu in the CWMA on February 1.

As many as four cases filed by Tamil Nadu were pending before the Supreme Court on this issue, the official had pointed out in the meeting.

The Minister further said appropriate steps were being taken and Tamil Nadu is set to approach the court as well.

Palaniswami said the CWMA had no powers to deliberate on the matter. During the AIADMK regime, such a discussion on Mekedatu was not allowed by the Tamil Nadu government in the CWMA meetings, he added.

Related: Tamil Nadu opposes inclusion of Mekedatu dam project in CWMA agenda

Govt accused of slackness

In this connection, ‘Amma’s government’ filed a contempt petition which is pending before the Supreme Court. However, the discussion has taken place now in the CWMA.

Hitting out at the government for ‘slackness,’ the AIADMK top leader pressed for the adoption of a resolution to condemn the ‘discussion’ on Mekedatu in the CWMA meeting and also said the government should have approached the apex court on the issue.

The CWMA has referred the matter to the Central Water Commission and what would happen if permission was granted by authorities for Karnataka’s dam proposal, he asked and said the neighbouring state has also set apart funds for the dam construction.

Duraimurugan said, however, that the CWMA allowed discussion and permitted representatives to talk on the matter. The Karnataka official had said no ban was imposed by the Supreme Court on the project. Hence, a discussion on the dam project may be held and the matter may be referred to the Central Water Commission, the Karnataka official had said.

Representatives of the Central Water Commission, Kerala, and neighbouring Puducherry said no discussion may be held on the Mekedatu project in the CWMA. “Only Karnataka said the matter (dam project proposal) may be taken up for discussion.”

After hearing their views, the chairperson of the CWMA said the Mekedatu dam proposal need not be taken up for discussion and the subject may be referred back to the Central Water Commission.

The Minutes of the meeting held by CWMA showed divergence from what was deliberated in the meeting. The Minutes said the matter was being forwarded to the Central Water Commission for ‘looking into various technical and economical aspects and evaluating the feasibility.’

This was a flaw, Duraimurugan said and added that on receipt of the Minutes, Tamil Nadu opposed the reference made to the Central Water Commission.

Related: Will firmly oppose Mekedatu dam construction, says MK Stalin

TN to approach court

All appropriate steps were being taken and Tamil Nadu is set to approach the court as well. The Tamil Nadu government opposed the dam project being referred to the CWC.

Tamil Nadu has written to the Jalshakthi Ministry and other relevant agencies. Matters related to the project were pending before the Supreme Court. This project has not been cleared by the apex court and also, and concurrence has not been obtained by Karnataka from other riparian states. All such aspects have been made clear in the state’s letters to the Central government ministries.

Merely by referring the matter to the CWC, the project cannot be implemented. Permission has to be received from the Forest and Environment departments.

The Minister categorically said that ‘not even a brick can be laid’ for implementing the Mekedatu project without obtaining Tamil Nadu’s consent.

There was no need for concern, no one born in Tamil Nadu will give consent for building the dam.

Responding to BJP Legislator Vanathi Srinivasan, who wanted talks with ruling DMK’s ally Congress in Karnataka, the Minister said:

“The plan is to have no talks. We are tired of talking.” He said the Cauvery tribunal was set up only after talks with Karnataka.

During the AIADMK regime, there was no chairperson in the CWMA and no such meetings were held. A chairman was named by the Centre for the body only after the DMK regime took up the matter.

Palaniswami opposed this remark by the Minister and said his party had stalled Parliamentary proceedings for 22 days years ago over the Mekedatu-Cauvery issue. Expressing dissatisfaction with the Minister’s reply, the Leader of the Opposition staged a walkout.

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