Panel set up on Mekedatu Dam Construction

A committee was set up by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to submit report on alleged violation of norms in construction of a reservoir across Cauvery river at Mekedatu in Karnataka.

Highlights

NGT bench consisting of Justice K Ramakrishnan took suo motu cognizance of newspaper report regarding the dam. Report states Karnataka proposes to construct a dam across Cauvery river even though proposal was deferred by Cauvery Water Management Authority twice in past because of opposition from Tamil Nadu government.

About Committee

Senior members of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited; Integrated Regional Office of MoEF, Bangalore and Cauvery Water Management Authority are members of the committee.  NGT has directed the committee to ask whether construction activity as alleged in newspaper report has been started before obtaining necessary clearance from Forest Department and MoEF under Forest Conservation Act and EIA Notification, 2006.

Mekedatu Project

The project was approved by Karnataka in 2017.  Rs 9,000 crore worth project started was with the aim of storing and supplying drinking water for Bengaluru city. It will also generate 400 megawatts of power. It is undertaken at deep gorge situated at the confluence of river Cauvery and its tributary Arkavathi.

Why Tamil Nadu is opposing the project?

Tamil Nadu opposes any proposed project in upper riparian unless it is approved by Supreme Court. Further, Karnataka started the project without the consent and clearance which goes against the final order of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). In the order, SC held- “no state can claim exclusive ownership to deprive other states of waters of inter-state rivers”.

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