Bengaluru: The Karnataka Congress unit is all set to launch a massive padyatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru in December to demand the speedy implementation of the Mekedatu project by the ruling BJP government.
The padayatra is planned in the first week of December and Congress leaders will march along with party workers and supporters for more than 100 km. The exact dates will be announced soon.
State Congress President D.K. Shivakumar said that reason behind the agitation is because the Central and state governments are not showing any concern for the project’s implementation.
“There are no legal hurdles and only commitment is lacking for implementing Mekedatu project. As a result, the share of water awarded to the state by authorities is being wasted,” Shivakumar explained.
He further stated that, there is no direction from the Supreme Court which restricts the implementation of the project. The Central government has to give environmental clearance for it.
The apex court has further stated that no permission is required for commencing the project as it is implemented on the land belonging to Karnataka, by its money and utilises water share awarded by authorities, the Congress leader added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said that his government would begin the project but it is not known whether he is under pressure, as his government is showing no signs of moving towards it, Shivakumar said.
“The project will benefit Tamil Nadu as the water which goes into the dam could be stored. The Mekedatu project will help provide drinking water to Bengaluru city and electricity production. This would help districts situated in the Cauvery Valley,” he explained.
Cauvery River is the lifeline of Karnataka. Bengaluru and seven other districts depend on its water.
According to Shivakumar, Congress party workers from Bengaluru, Ramnagar, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts will take part in the agitation.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said that while he was the Chief Minister, his government had prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) which was submitted to the Centre for clearance.
“There is no hurdle for implementation of the Mekedatu project. Tamil Nadu is objecting unnecessarily and they will have no problem. Infact, the water stored in Mekedatu could be utilised during distress and Karnataka can release water to Tamil Nadu from here,” he said.
“The Cauvery River Authority will take a call on releasing water. Tamil Nadu should not have any problem if Karnataka utilises its share of water. There should not be any problem with the implementation of this project.”
The state has all the right to implement Mekedatu project and “we will utilise our share and also release water to Tamil Nadu. The Central government should give its clearance and we urge the state to begin the work”, Siddaramaiah said.
He clarified that the agitation has been organised to protect the interests of the state and it does not involve any political agenda.