MYSURU: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday reiterated his commitment to the proposed Mekedatu balancing reservoir and drinking water project between Krishnaraja Sagar and Mettur reservoirs in Tamil Nadu. He said that he would fulfil the hopes of Karnataka farmers, though the project is opposed by neighbouring Tamil Nadu. “We will seek approval from the Centre for the project, which will help meet drinking water needs in the southern districts of the state,” he said, while offering bagina to KRS reservoir for the fifth time as CM.

The event, though, was marred by farmers agitating against the amendment to the Karnataka Land Reforms Act. Several farmers were detained in Srirangapatna and HD Kote as they were heading to KRS to stage a black flag demonstration against Yediyurappa.

Yediyurappa offered bagina under heavy police cover, flanked by Ministers Ramesh Jarkiholi and S T Somashekar, MPs Sumalatha and Pratap Simha, and other MLAs. All roads leading to KRS wore a deserted look, with no vehicle allowed to enter the premises.

The Chief Minister spoke of his government’s road map to expand the irrigated area in the state. “Our government has approved Rs 84,000 crore for 28 projects in the past year,” he said.The veteran farmer leader, who was instrumental in commissioning the Pandavapura Sugar Factory, recalled that his government, in its previous term, replaced 18 gates of the 80-year-old KRS reservoir at a cost of `8.4 crore, and also took up modernisation of the Visvesvaraya Canal in Mandya district. 

“Around 3.45 lakh acres is irrigated in KRS achukat falling in Mandya and Mysuru districts. I am happy that the dams are brimming for the past three years,” he said. Later, Yediyurappa flew to Kabini reservoir in HD Kote and offered bagina. He also laid the foundation for development works and construction of a new bridge across Kabini.

Farmers rounded up 
Farmers agitating against the Karnataka Land Reforms Act are also demanding a permanent ban on illegal mining in and around KRS reservoir. As they were rounded up near Shiramali Circle, State Sugarcane Growers’ Association president Kurbur Shantha Kumar wanted to know whether prohibitory orders had been clamped. Police took the farmers into custody as they are not allowed to meet the CM due to the pandemic. 

Bone of contention 

  •  Despite Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami’s opposition, the Karnataka government wants to go ahead 
  •  The CNNL has listed five international firms to execute  the project
  •  Former Water Resources minister M B Patil submitted a proposal with an estimate of `5.9 cr to the Centre
  •  Farmers’ forums have clarified that Karnataka will release Tamil Nadu its share of 177 tmcft water

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