"For forms of government let fools contest; that which is best administered is best. " -Alexander Pope. Critically examine the statement and state clearly wheter democracy is irrelevant to good governance in developing countries like India?.
Mekedatu project proposed by Karnataka government is to build a multimodal reservoir at Mekedatu, Kanakapura taluk on Cauvery River.
Under the project, 16 tmc ft of water is to be utilized for hydel power generation of 400 MW and also meet the drinking water and irrigation needs of the people of Ramanagara, Kolar and Bengaluru rural districts.
The proposed reservoir to build at the cost of Rs 5,912 crore, will occupy 4,000 acres of forest land in Kanakapura and also a small parcel of land from the neighbouring Malavali.
It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydropower project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydropower station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.
Mekedatu (meaning goat’s leap), is a deep gorge situated at the confluence of the rivers Arkavathi and Cauvery, about 100 km from Bengaluru, at the Kanakapura taluk in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district.
Months after the centuries-long Cauvery river dispute between two states- Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (TN) culminated in the setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), a new dispute over a dam on the river has emerged.
Tamil Nadu has been opposing the project by saying that it will deny its share of water from the Cauvery river.
The state contends that building the project will lead to a violation of the Supreme Court order on Cauvery water dispute.
On the other hand, Karnataka government maintains that this project falls within the state’s territorial limits and therefore, there is no legal impediment toconstructing the project across Cauvery.
Also, Karnataka said that TN could not object the project as long as there is no obstruction to the delivery of 177.25 (one thousand million cubic feet)of water at the inter-state border in a typical year.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been fighting over the Cauvery waters over the past few centuries; the dispute can be traced back to the time of British India.
The Supreme Court in February this year, pronounced its final verdict which reduced water allocation to Tamil Nadu by 14 tmc.
Now, Karnataka has to release only 177 tmc of water to TN for the next 15 years. In addition to this, the court also ordered the Centre to constitute Cauvery Management Board for implementing the tribunal awards and its verdict.
The Cauvery River, 765-km-long river, originated in Kodagu district’s Talacauvery in Karnataka and flowed through Haasan, Mandya and Mysuru districts before entering Dharmapuri, Erode, Karur, Trichy, Cuddalore, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur,and other districts in TN.
States: Cauvery and its tributaries also flow through Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry, forming one of the longest rivers in South India.
Island: The river divides into two places and forms two islands in Karnataka, one is at Shivanasamudra, where she plunges as GaganaChukki and Bara Chukki Falls and creates the island of Srirangapatna near Mysore. The third island is Srirangam in Tamil Nadu.
Dam projects: There are several dams built on the river: the most popular ones being the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam (KRS) in Mandya, Upper Anicut in Tamil Nadu, Amaravthi Dam, Mettur Dam,andKalani Dam in Tamil Nadu.
Bengaluru is witnessing rapid growth,and the water requirement is also huge,and the current infrastructure in the region to supply water will be insufficient.
Hence, the Mekedatu project assumes great significance for the state to fulfil its demand for water.
The approval is a big relief for the people of Karnataka, especially for the people of Cauvery valley and also for people of villages in Ramanagara, Kolar,and Bengaluru districts, who have been suffering due to the paucity of rains.
Mekedatu balancing reservoir project is expected to slake the thirst of people living in Bengaluru, and nearby regions, and provide an effective solution to the water crisis in the IT city and also nearby districts. Green signal from the Central Water Commission to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) is a victory to the State’s efforts. The DPR will have to be submitted again to the Commission. If the report is approved by the CWC, the state can approach the Ministry of Forest and Environment for clearance.