From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
New Delhi, Nov 8: Karnataka has issued an official order directing Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board to reserve 24 tmcft of Cauvery water annually to meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and surrounding areas, announced Deputy Chief Ministe D K Shivakumar in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Speaking to media persons at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, he said the Supreme Court has in its order of 2018 had held that Karnataka can utilised 24 tmcft of Cauvery water for meeting the drinking water needs.
But no action had been taken on the direction of the apex court. Earlier, lesser quantity of water used to be reserved for drinking water, he said.
Therefore, the State Government has issued a government order to reserve totally 24 tmcft of water, including the unutilised 6 tmcft, for meeting the drinking water needs, he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister said the Congress government has raised the Mekedatu project issue at the 89th meeting of the Cauvery water management authority meeting. “We have been promised that it will be taken up at the next meeting for a detailed discussion. Our officials will handle it,’’ he said.
He said the government will urge both the Authority and the Supreme Court to grant permission for implementing the Mekedatu project as it will help both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in distress years to tackle the water shortfall as in the present year.
The Mekedatu will benefit Tamil Nadu as the surplus water flowing into the Arabian Sea can be saved, he said pointing out that the government will give a power point presentation at the meeting of the Authority.
The Deputy Chief Minister said Tamil Nadu’s demand for releasing Cauvery water even in distress situation is unacceptable as the inflow in the KRS has completely stopped. “We will do their best to convince all parties about the benefits,’’ he said.
Asked about the government’s stand if Tamil Nadu objects to Karnataka’s decision of reserving 24 tmcft of Cauvery water for drinking purposes for Bengaluru, Shivakumar said the Supreme Court has clearly said the drinking water must get first priority.
“Let them object. We will not give up our rights and protect the interests of the State,’’ he said making it clear that steps will be taken to ensure that the required quantity of 24 tmcft water will be stored in KRS or any other place in the Cauvery basin areas.
To another question, he said the Cauvery Water Management Authority has promised to take up the Mekedatu issue at its meeting next week. “We are making all preparations to present our case. The Mekedatu project has been conceived by taking into account the drinking water needs for the next 20 years. Drinking water has been given to Anekal, Harohalli, Bengaluru North and surrounding areas besides Kempegowda International Airport.
“Bengaluru is growing steadily and the State must be ready to meet the demands of the future growth,’’ he explained.
Shivakumar replied to another question on Tamil Nadu’s proposal for linking rivers that the State will not comment on such issues unless concrete proposals and made and their impact is studied.
“Karnataka will however go ahead with implementing projects within the State to utilise the rightful share of Cauvery water,’’ he declared and hoped that Tamil Nadu will not oppose that.