Congress to resume Mekedatu Padayatra from February 17

KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar said that the party will resume Padayatra and the same has been intimated to the authorities concerned.

Congress to resume Mekedatu Padayatra from February 17

Bengaluru: Karnataka Pradesh Congress has decided to resume Mekedatu Padayatra from February 17. The Padayatra was suspended on January 13, following the fast spreading of the Covid 19 third wave and the Omicron variant.

On January 9, KPCC has embarked Mekedatu Padayatra from Sangam near Kanakapura, but it was called off midway following the third wave of Covid 19 and also High Court’s suggestions to political parties not to conduct Padayatra during a pandemic.

Congress has completed five days of Padayatra and suspended it when reached to Ramanagara. Total 60 km stretch Padayatra was completed.

KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar said that the party will resume Padayatra and the same has been intimated to the authorities concerned. We have informed our decision about conducting the second leg of Mekedatu Padayatra to the Chief Minister and Police department. Padayatra has been organized to urge the state government to implement the Mekedatu drinking water scheme to Bengaluru, Mr. Shivakumar said.

BJP has not shown any interest to implement the project. BJP saying it has double engine government both at Centre and State. The Chief Minister has given a paper statements that he will implement the project, but he has not shown any willpower to make the project reality. The state government must issue the notification for land acquisition and lay the foundation stone for the project, Mr. Shivakumar demanded.

Congress has decided to make the Mekedatu project an elections issue in the 2023 Assembly elections. On the other hand, BJP has made an all-out effort to downplay the Congress agitation and given a series of advertisements highlighting the Congress's failure in implementing the project.

Both the ruling BJP and Congress have taken this issue as a prestigious one. Congress has also alleged that to prevent the Congress padayatra, the state government has banned protests, rallies and public events during the third wave of Covid pandemic.

What is the Mekedatu project: The Mekedatu dam project is a bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Karnataka has proposed to construct a mini reservoir across the Cauvery river at Mekedatu in Ramanagara district, 90 km from Bengaluru and 4 km from the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. The project aims to ensure adequate drinking water supply to Bengaluru. The project is proposed at the confluence of Cauvery with its tributary Arkavathi. While the dam will have a capacity of holding about 66 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water, it would generate 400MW of hydroelectricity once operational. According to the ‘pre-feasibility report of the project, Karnataka had been considering generating power from the river since 1948.

Tamil Nadu contended that the Mekedatu area is situated in the last free point in Karnataka from where Cauvery water flows unrestricted into Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu also stated that there is no dam there at present, water from there has been reaching Tamil Nadu without any hindrance but the Mekedatu dam project is an attempt by Karnataka to lock this free flow of water. Further Tamil Nadu contended that if the dam is built, Karnataka will only release residual quantities of water to Tamil Nadu and that is why the state is opposed to the project.

Tamil Nadu political parties vehemently opposing the project. Recently Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court against the National Green Tribunal order which closed the proceedings on the state’s plea to set up a committee on Karnataka’s decision related to the Mekedatu reservoir and drinking water project which entails an investment of around Rs.9000 crore.