National Green Tribunal sets up panel on Mekedatu dam construction
The National Green Tribunal has set up a panel to submit reports on alleged violation of norms in the construction of a reservoir across the Cauvery River at Mekedatu in Karnataka. A bench of Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member K Satyagopal has send notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Central Water Commission, Department of Water Resources, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu governments among others regarding the Mekedatu Dam.
The bench took suo motu (on its own) knowledge of newspaper reports that states that Karnataka had proposed to construct a dam across the Cauvery River but the proposal was postponed by the Cauvery Water Management Authority in the past due to objections made by the Tamil Nadu government.
Work of the Panel Committee
Senior members from the Integrated Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bangalore, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited, Cauvery Water Management Authority, and the Forest Department, Karnataka constitute the committee. The committee has been directed to find out and enquire about any construction activities and any damage caused due to it and whether such constructions has been started without obtaining necessary clearance from MoEF and the Forestry Department under the Forest Conservation Act and the EIA Notification. The committee has been directed to assess any damage caused to the environment and compensation to be paid by the authorities responsible for it.
The project was initiated in the year 2017 after receiving necessary approvals from the Government of Karnataka. The cost of the project is Rs 9000 crore. The project was initiated with the aim to provide clean drinking water to the city of Bengaluru and also to generate electricity of 400 megawatts. This project has also been strongly opposed by Tamil Nadu and they say that if the project is completed then the Cauvery water flow into the state will be affected.