Congress to press for early implementation of Mekedatu drinking water project across Cauvery
Congress will launch a padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru on January 9 to press for early implementation of Mekedatu drinking water project across Cauvery.The 10-day padayatra, which will culminate in Bengaluru, will cover a distance of about 170 km and 15 Assembly constituencies.The Mekedatu project was conceived in 1968. It envisages impounding 66 TMC (one thousand million cubic feet) of water and generate 440 megwatts of power. While it was estimated to cost ₹5,912 crore in 2013, the figure had been revised to ₹9,500 crore in 2018.“Since there is no case pending in the Supreme Court and the project has been approved by the National Green Tribunal, there is no reason to delay it. The BJP is not committed to any irrigation project, including UKP, Upper Bhadra, Yettinahole and Mahadayi,” Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah told reporters in Belagavi after chairing the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting where the padayatra and the proposed anti-conversion bill were discussed. Once implemented, the project is expected to benefit a population of about 2.5 crore in 10 districts besides bringing down pressure on other reservoirs in the Cauvery basin. “Currently, only 30% of Bengaluru is receiving Cauvery water. The project will help address drinking water woes in Bengaluru, Kolar and Chikkaballapura districts. Tamil Nadu will benefit more than Karnataka.”Terming the padayatra for ‘Namma Neeru Namma Hakku’ (Our water our right), he said that organisations, associations and NGOs across Karnataka have been invited to join the padayatra. When asked if the Janata Dal (Secular) will be invited, he said, “We will not invite those who do not come.”KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar said that the 10-day padayatra from Mekedatu will pass through Kanakapura, Ramanagaram and Bidadi before culminating in Bengaluru. “We have chosen routes that will have double road to prevent any inconvenience to public. The padayatra will culminate in either Basavanagudi or Freedom Park in Bengaluru.” He said anyone from across Karnataka could join the padayatra.