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State govt. firmly opposed to dams at Mekedatu and Bhavani; issue taken up with Centre, says CM

The State government was committed to protecting the interests of the farmers, especially in matters relating to river water-sharing disputes with neighbouring States, said Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami here on Saturday.

The government will not allow dams across the Cauvery at Mekedatu or Bhavani, he said, addressing government functions in the two cities.

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Mr. Palaniswami said that the Karnataka government could construct the dam only after getting the nod from the Centre. The State government had already expressed its opposition to the construction of the dam to the Centre. “We will not allow a new dam at Mekedatu at any cost,” he said.

He pointed out that he had recently taken up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the issue of neighbouring Kerala constructing check dams across the river Bhavani and its tributaries, and had urged the PM to constitute the Cauvery Management Board as early as possible. The State government had also filed a petition with the Supreme Court in this regard, he said, adding that he had also urged the Prime Minister to ask Kerala not to carry out any work till the court disposes of the petition.

The government had announced the implementation of the Athikadavu-Avinashi scheme at an outlay of ₹250 crore. A groundwater recharge scheme with the objective of filling 31 PWD-maintained tanks, 40 ponds under panchayat unions and 538 small ponds in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode districts was announced by Jayalalithaa in 2014. “This government is committed to implementing all the schemes that the then Chief Minister promised and taking the State on the path of development,” Mr. Palaniswami said.

Stating that the government was responding to people’s needs, he pointed out that following representations from MLAs and MPs, the government was considering a proposal to allow farmers to tap neera (a non-alcoholic beverage) from coconut trees, as it would help them supplement their income.

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