TN won’t allow K’taka to build dam across Cauvery at Mekedatu: Minister

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Chennai, May 26 (IANS) Senior DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister, S. Duraimurugan, has said that the state will not allow Karnataka to build a dam across the Cuvery river at Makedatu, which is near the inter-state border.

In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the minister said that the state government would consult legal counsels on this matter and take appropriate action.

“Tamil Nadu will never allow the construction of Mekedatu dam planned by the Karnataka government across the Cauvery river,” Duraimurugan said.

The minister said that the state government had filed a petition in the Supreme Court in November 2018, seeking a stay on the permission granted by the Central Water Commission to the Karnataka government to go ahead and prepare a detailed project report (DPR).

It may be recalled that the south India bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) had taken suo moto cognizance in the matter on the basis of news reports, alleging that some steps were being taken and that materials had been collected near the project area.

The NGT has constituted a four-member committee involving the Union Environment Ministry, Cauvery Water Management Authority, Cauvery Neeravi Nigam Limited and the Forest Department of Karnataka government to conduct an inspection of the concerned area and submit a factual report and an action taken report, if any violations are found.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, government of Karnataka, will be the nodal agency for coordination and providing the necessary logistics.

The NGT has issued a notice communicating its decision to the Union Environment Ministry, Department of Water Resources, Central Water Commission, Cauvery Water Management Authority and the chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, among others.

The NGT has directed the panel to submit its report on or before July 5.

“If the project is to be implemented without conducting any environmental assessment study and without obtaining necessary clearance if any required, then it will be an unauthorised act affecting the environment,” the tribunal said.