Karnataka conveys its concerns about Hogenakal project

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) Karnataka Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai today met Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz to discuss the implementation and Central assistance for water resources projects in the state and to express the concerns of the state regarding Tamil Nadu taking up the controversial Hogenakal project on the common reaches of the borders of the two states.

Mr Bommai told newspersons that he had apprised Prof Soz that Karnataka had been asking its neighbouring state not to proceed with the project until the inter-state concerns were resolved amicably. It had sought to convene an inter-state meeting for talks.

Officially, the state was yet to send its detailed project report and the extent of submersion as the area, which had a 65-km common border. The Centre was saying that an NOC had been issued for the Hogenakal project in 1998.

The Minister said that he had stated that Hogenakal was not a part of the adjudication before the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and hence, the project could not be examined. Tamil Nadu was not even ready to confirm, if its 2005 project report, supplied by the Centre was good for proposed execution, he said.

Karnataka is fully conscious that the drinking water project should get top most priority under the Constitution. However, when It wanted the drinking water project for Bangalore, Tamil Nadu had objected on the ''frivolous ground'' that Bangalore was not a part of the Cauvery basin, while the truth was that a big city like Bangalore did not have any other source for drinking water.

The Minister said the Tribunal had implicitly recognised the rights of the two states for power projects on the common reach without causing any prejudice to downstream flows. The Cauvery issue was pending before the Supreme Court. When there is a dispute regarding the border demarcation, it is the responsibility of the Geological Survey of India to come up with an answer as the boundary line has not been demarcated.

Until such time, the Centre could not allow Tamil Nadu to go ahead with the project on disputed land, he said.

Mr Bommai also drew Prof Soz's attention towards the delay in clearing the Kalasa-Banduri Nala drinking water scheme for Hubli-Dharwad towns which were not getting water supply after three to four days time. The project which had been granted ''in principle clearance'' had been kept in abeyance after protests from Goa.

In the meanwhile, a Water Resources Ministry release said that Prof Soz had assured Mr Bommai all possible help and cooperation and speedy implementation of water resources prjects in the state.

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