Launching a scathing attack on the Congress leaders for violating the government’s Covid-19 restrictions and going ahead with the ‘padayatra’ demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said action will be taken in accordance with law.
The Chief Minister said that a notice has been issued to the grand old party for violation of Covid-19 norms.
Bommai also accused the Congress of not behaving like a responsible opposition and said that officials had personally advised them against the ‘padayatra’.
“But they have neglected it and are going ahead, we will take action in accordance with law,” he told reporters here, PTI reported.
Accusing the Congress of playing politics on the Mekedatu issue, Bommai said: “When cases regarding the project are pending, as a responsible political party, who have been earlier in power, and being fully aware of the system, the law, what inter-state water dispute is, court and tribunal orders, they should not have gone ahead with the padayatra.”
“But politics seems to be important for them, the people will decide,” he added.
The Chief Minister also said that he has called a meeting of important leaders of his party and senior ministers to discuss several issues, including Bengaluru development, Mekedatu project and the padayatra.
Bommai accused the Congress of not putting any efforts to take the Mekedatu project forward while in power as it lacked commitment.
“They were in power for five years, they could not submit a DPR (Detailed Project Report) properly, the DPR was submitted during the coalition government, even then they didn't have any commitment,” Bommai said.
“D.K. Shivakumar, who was the Irrigation Minister during the coalition government, failed to take it forward,” he added.
Escalating his attack, the Chief Minister said the grand old party did not take up the issue during the last three years, but are now doing a “purely politically motivated” ‘padayatra’ ahead of the 2023 assembly polls.
“They are suffering with guilty consciousness. Hence, they are trying to misguide the people. It is purely politically motivated Congress padayatra,” he said.
Accusing the Congress of misguiding the people, Bommai pointed out that the grand old party had organised a similar padayatra regarding Krishna river in the past and made several promises, but failed to fulfil it while in power.
Asserting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is committed to implement the project, the Chief Minister said the DPR has gone from Central Water Commission (CWC) to Cauvery Monitoring Board for approval after the saffron party came to power.
He added that a meeting is likely to be held this month during which decisions in this regard may be taken.
Pointing cases regarding the project are also likely this month in the Supreme Court, Bommai said: “We are following with our legal team. We are also working regarding environmental clearance.”
Seeking early implementation of Mekedatu drinking water project, the Congress earlier in the day launched its 11-day ‘padyatra’ despite the state government’s Covid-19 restrictions and warnings.
Led by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief D.K. Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, the ‘padyatra’ with the theme ‘Namma Neeru Namma Hakku’ (Our water, Our right) began at the Sangama, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.
With an estimated cost of Rs 9,000 crore, the Mekedatu multipurpose (drinking and power) project, involves building a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district.