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Will not allow construction of new dam by Karnataka, says TN

Chennai(PTI): With the Cauvery water sharing row escalating, Tamil Nadu government today made it clear that it would not allow construction of a new dam by Karnataka at Mekedhatu across the river under “any circumstances.”

Replying to a special mention on the water dispute in the Assembly, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa accused Karnataka of not honouring the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.

She said Karnataka makes all efforts to first fill its reservoirs and then release only surplus waters to Tamil Nadu.

“I and my government are committed to securing the state’s rightful share in the Cauvery waters,” she said, amid thumping of desk by the members.

She said Karnataka cannot build a dam at Mekedhatu, about 100 km from Bangalore, without Tamil Nadu’s acceptance. “If Karnataka tries to build a dam, Tamil Nadu will not allow the move under any circumstances.”

Her assertion comes in the backdrop of tough postures being adopted by Karnataka leaders on the release of water from Cauvery to Tamil Nadu.

Accusing Karnataka of using water from its dams for summer irrigation, she said, as per the final orders of the Tribunal, Karnataka had used 203 tmc ft of water for irrigation as against the stipulated 103.24 tmc ft of water.

“Karnataka is also not giving water to Tamil Nadu for its Kuruvai cultivation (short term) in June and July,” she said.

Since Karnataka was utilising water for its summer crops, during monsoon that state took efforts to fill its reservoirs and then released water to Tamil Nadu, resulting in Mettur dam in the state not getting its due share, she said.

Recalling her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after she assumed office last year, Jayalalithaa said she had discussed the issue of notifying the Tribunal’s award and setting up Cauvery Water Management Board for implementing it.

“But so far, the Centre has not acted on these demands and Tamil Nadu government has been pressing for them,” she said.

The two states are locked in decades-long dispute on sharing Cauvery waters.The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, set up by the Centre, had in 2007 given its final award, allocating 419 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu and 270 tmcft to Karnataka annually.

However, Karnataka has challenged the award in the Supreme Court, alleging it gave a raw deal to the state overlooking its requirements and rights.

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