Cauvery: Karnataka conveys concerns to Centre

Karnataka’s concern about Tamil Nadu’s plans to utilise excess water in the Cauvery basin was conveyed to the Union Minister for Water Resources Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday.

Karnataka’s Minister for Major and Medium Irrigation Ramesh Jarkiholi met the Union Minister in Delhi to discuss the water projects of the State, and he raised the issue during the meeting.

The Minister orally expressed his concern and spoke about the State’s stand on the utilisation of the excess water in the Cauvery basin, sources in the Minister’s office said. “No memorandum has been given to the Centre yet.”

Link scheme

Taking the State government largely by surprise, the T.N. government last week announced the laying of foundation stone for the Cauvery–Vellaru–Vaigai–Gundar Link scheme that seeks to utilise the excess water in the Cauvery basin and transfer it to southern parts of the State.

The scheme is being funded by the Centre.

While a high-level meeting involving technical and legal experts chaired by the Minister was held in Delhi on Saturday, a high- level meeting in which the leaders of the Opposition are expected to participate will be convened. The Minister’s office said the high-level meeting would be convened very shortly during which the response of the State to the Tamil Nadu’s decision to start the project would be formulated.

Upper Bhadra

Meanwhile, sources said the modalities of funding the Upper Bhadra project, which received national status recently, was discussed during the meeting. “It has been broadly agreed that the project will be implemented with 90% funding from the Centre.”

The about two-decade-old project, now estimated to cost about ₹21,500 crore, was the first water project of the State to receive national status. The project has been conceived to irrigate about 2.25 lakh hectares across Central Karnataka districts of Chitradurga, Davangere, Tumakuru, and dry regions of Chikkamagalur. Agricultural land will be irrigated through drip irrigation under the project.

Among others, Mr. Jarkiholi also discussed the implementation of projects in Mahadayi, Krishna, and Cauvery basins, a statement from the Minister’s office said.

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