Updated: December 21, 2021 4:50:52 pm
The Karnataka unit of the Congress will launch a 10-day padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru – a distance of around 179 km – on January 9 seeking the implementation of the Mekedatu drinking water project.
Announcing the padayatra, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D K Shivakumar on Tuesday said the march will cover 15 Assembly constituencies before reaching Bengaluru.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah said, “Mekedatu project was first conceived in 1968, under which 66 TMC (one thousand million cubic feet) of water can generate 440 MW of power and supply drinking water to Bengaluru, Chikkaballapura and Kolar districts. It was estimated to cost Rs 5,912 crore in 2013, the figure was revised to Rs 9,500 crore in 2018.”
Shivakumar said the padayatra will be named ‘Namma neeru, namma hakku’ (Our water, our right) and organisations across Karnataka will be invited to join it.
Stating that despite the project having been approved by the National Green Tribunal and though there was no pending case before the Supreme Court against it, Siddaramaiah said the initiative faced unnecessary delays and mounting costs. “The present BJP government is not committed to completing the irrigation project, including Upper Krishna Project, Upper Bharda, Yettinahole and Mahadayi,” he said.
He added that the project would benefit about 2.5 crore people in 10 districts and reduce pressure on other reservoirs in the Cauvery basin. After chairing the CLP meeting, Siddaramaiah said the padayatra and the proposed Anti-Conversion Bill were discussed at the meeting.
The issue also found mention in Tuesday’s Assembly session with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai saying, “It was discussed before the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) twice and we have urged the Centre to take up the issue in the next meeting. Once CWMA clears it, it will be easier for us to take up the project and we are following it up regularly.”
In a response to MLA Sharath Kumar Bache Gowda, state Minister for Major and Medium Irrigation Govind M Karajol said the reservoir is expected to store 67.16 TMC water and a project report worth Rs 9,000 crore was submitted before the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti in January 2019. The government is awaiting clearance from the Jal Shakthi ministry and the Union Ministry of Environment, he explained. The project will submerge 5,257.03 hectares in Ramanagaram, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts and up to 4.75 TMC of water will be used for consumption in Bengaluru city and other places, the minister added.
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