Mekedatu is a multi-purpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district, Karnataka. (Agencies)

Mekedatu is a multi-purpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district, Karnataka. (Agencies)

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Monday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to restrain the Cauvery Water Management Authority from discussing Karnataka’s Mekedatu project proposal in its meeting on June 17. Writing to Modi, Stalin said the scope of the functioning of the CWMA is limited to implementing Supreme Court’s verdict on Cauvery issue and the Authority cannot consider any other subject. Also, the matter is sub judice and Tamil Nadu’s petitions in this regard are pending before the apex court.

Stalin requested the Prime Minister to instruct the Jal Shakti Ministry to advise the CWMA’s chairman to desist from taking up any discussion on the Mekedatu project, till the issues are heard and decided by the Supreme Court. Recalling the state’s memorandum presented to him on June 17, 2021, Stalin said he had requested that concurrence should not be given to Karnataka’s proposal to construct a reservoir at Mekedatu, across river Cauvery.

Also, representations have also been made to Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat conveying the unanimous resolution of the Tamil Nadu Assembly on March 21, 2022, opposing the project as well as the move of the Karnataka government allocating Rs 1,000 crore for it. “We were assured that no approval would be given for the proposed Mekedatu project without getting the concurrence of Tamil Nadu. I also emphasised the same in my recent memorandum presented to you on May 26, 2022,” Stalin said in his letter to Modi. “We were assured that no approval would be given for the proposed Mekedatu project without getting the concurrence of Tamil Nadu.

The CWMA has, however, proposed to discuss the Detailed Project Report of the Mekedatu project in its 16th meeting to be held on June 17, 2022. “This step has caused great anguish among the farmers of Cauvery Delta in Tamil Nadu. I am sure that you are fully aware that our state depends greatly on the waters of Cauvery for its drinking water needs and irrigation,” the Chief Minister said.

Referring to the apex court judgment of 2018 apportioning Cauvery water among the riparian states, he said though the allocation was not up to Tamil Nadu’s expectation, the state is managing its needs “with the allocated share, provided it is delivered as per the schedule.” Any disruption would affect the state very adversely and hence, this is a very sensitive issue, Stalin added.

“The CWMA was specifically constituted, as per the verdict of the Supreme Court dated 18.05.2018, only for implementing the orders of the Supreme Court dated 16.02.2018 and it is our considered view that the scope of the functioning of authority is strictly limited only to the implementation of the verdict and it cannot be expanded to consider any such activity beyond it,” the Chief Minister further said. The CWMA has included the Mekedatu project in the agenda of its 16th meeting, based on the opinion of the Solicitor General, wherein he has stated that the Authority has wide powers and the DPR of Mekedatu proposal could be discussed.

“This is legally untenable as it is violative of the verdict of the Supreme Court and not at all acceptable to Tamil Nadu,” Stalin added. In addition, the matter is sub judice, since three applications filed by Tamil Nadu on this issue are pending before the Supreme Court. “We have also filed another application in the Supreme Court on June 7, 2022. These involve critical questions on the role of CWMA, which can be clarified only by the Supreme Court,” the Chief Minister said. In addition, the matter is sub judice, since three applications filed by Tamil Nadu on this issue are pending before the Supreme Court. “

The CWMA’s decision to rush and discuss this issue, which is beyond its scope, even before the state’s applications are heard by the Supreme Court, is an attempt to ‘subvert’ the court’s earlier verdict, he pointed out. Hence, Stalin said the discussion on the DPR of Mekedatu proposed in the 16th CWMA meeting has to be postponed till the Supreme Court hears Tamil Nadu’s applications and gives its decision.

“I, therefore, request you to instruct the Ministry of Jal Shakti to advise the Chairman of the CWMA, to desist from taking up any discussion on the Mekedatu project, till the issues are heard and decided by the Supreme Court,” he said in the letter to the PM.