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'Disastrous To Natural Resources, Lives Of Adivasis': Activist Medha Patkar On Mekedatu Project

The activist urged the government to not view the project as a solution to the river dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but as an environmental and livelihood concern.

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Prominent social activist Medha Patkar has come forward in opposition to the proposed Mekedatu reservoir project. The activist said that the project will destruct the environment and the livelihood of the Adivasis residing in and around the area.

Patkar spoke during a press conference organised by the Karnataka Nelajala Parisara Rakshana Samiti on Friday, January 14. The event was attended by Kannada cine actor Chetan Kumar, Deccan Herald reported.

What Is Mekedatu Dam Project?

The sharing of the Cauveri River water has been the point of conflict between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for decades.

The project proposed by the Karnataka government is of building a reservoir on the river Ontigondlu, 1.5 km away from Mekedatu, near the Tamil Nadu border. The reservoir is proposed to meet the drinking water crisis in Bengaluru and nearby regions.

According to The Indian Express report, the Siddaramiah government, in 2013, had prepared a report from the project with a storage capacity of 67.16 thousand million cubic feet (TMCF) of water, aimed to supply 4.75 TMCF to Bengaluru and other areas. Besides, it would also generate 400 megawatts of hydroelectric power.

Reportedly, the Supreme Court challenged the project by Tamil Nadu on the ground that it would eat into the state's share of the river water as adjudicated by the court in 2018.

The project also needs multiple environment clearances, given that the major of the land would submerge in the forest area.

Address Concerns Of Tribal People

The activist called the project a disastrous initiative taken by the government, which will wreak havoc on the Cauveri river. She urged the government to not view the project as a solution to the river dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but as an environmental and livelihood concern.

Demanding EIA

Patkar demanded the government to provide the environmental impact assessment as well as the social impact assessment so that people could understand the project's adverse effect on the tribal community. The activist said that the residents depend on the river and forests for livelihood.

"By questioning the dam, we are questioning the exploitation and destruction of resources. The inequity and injustice in the use of natural resources should stop. They should be used to support the livelihood of people and not the builders, contractors, and politicians," DH quoted Patkar as saying.

Crores Being Spent On Disaster

Actor Chetan Kumar questioned the government on spending a whopping ₹9,000 crores on a project that the residents and social activists oppose. Calling it a 'destructive' project, Kumar urged the government to go for the proven and implemented solutions to solve the water crisis issue.

Congress's Protest

On January 9, the Congress government had organised a march against the project and intended to cover 100 km in 10 days. But it was stopped a few days later after the Karnataka High Court objected to it, highlighting the COVID restrictions.

Also Read: This MBBS Doctor In Hyderabad Treats Economically Weaker Patients At Just Rs 10

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Writer : Devyani Madaik
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Editor : Palak Agrawal
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Creatives : Devyani Madaik