The Tamil Nadu Government has filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Central and Karnataka officials for the approval given to the State to prepare a detailed project on Mekedatu, contending it is in violation of the final award given by the Cauvery tribunal in February 2017 and modified by the apex court in February this year.
The Government urged the Supreme court to summon the Central Water Commission Chairman Masood who gave the nod and another official, besides three from Karnataka .
In its petition, the Government also sought a direction to the Director, Project Appraisal(South) in the Central Water Commission to withdraw the Nov 22 letter giving permission to Karnataka to prepare the detailed report on the project to build a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery in Mekedatu which can also be used to meet drinking water needs of Bengaluru and generate 400 mw power.
It argued that if the Central or State Government was allowed to frustrate the implantation of an adjudicated dispute, “ the very foundation of constitutional democracy, independent judiciary and the federal structure of the Constitution would be in jeopardy.
The petition also cited a press release by the Karnataka Government that Water Resources Minister would visit Mekedatu on Dec 7. It amounted to disregarding the apex court verdict, it said.
It recalled that the tribunal, after examining the various projects in the basin States, allowed certain projects in Karnataka and disallowed some others such as lift irrigation schemes and trans-basin diversion projects. This was because Cauvery was not a perennial river and the basin was a deficit basin.
The tribunal reduced the extent of crop and changed the cropping pattern from wet to dry crops in order to reduce consumption of water.
“As the tribunal has decided the area of irrigation and the water requirement of various projects and allocated the shares of water among the basin States, no new project could be undertaken by Karnataka in the Cauvery as it was already a deficit basin.”, it contended.