The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Central Water Commission, Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar and others for allegedly violating the top court’s order on the Mekedatu matter. The Supreme Court will hear the plea next week, PTI reported.

The case pertains to a proposal to allow Karnataka to construct a balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project in Mekedatu area across the Cauvery river.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government requested the court to summon the respondents and “punish [them] for contempt for wilfully disobeying” the top court’s decision. The state said it had moved the petition in the interest of farmers in the state.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and other Opposition parties in the state had staged a protest against the proposed project on Tuesday.

On November 26, the Central Water Commission approved a pre-feasibility report Karnataka had submitted on the proposed project, The News Minute reported. The next day, the commission gave its preliminary approval to the report and asked the HD Kumaraswamy-led government for a detailed project report.

The Tamil Nadu government, on November 27, had asked the Centre to withdraw the permission granted to Karnataka to prepare the detailed project report.

The project

The Rs 5,912-crore project is meant to reduce the drinking water problems of Bengaluru and Ramanagara districts, as well as generate electricity. It was first announced by former Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister TB Jayachandra in 2013, The News Minute reported.

However, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had approached the then Manmohan Singh government at the Centre and asked it not to approve the project. Jayalalithaa had said that the absence of a body to implement the orders of the Cauvery water dispute tribunal made the project unfeasible for Tamil Nadu.

The government of then Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had approved the commencement of the project in February 2017.

The Supreme Court, in February 2018, ordered the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board to determine the allocation of Cauvery river water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami claimed that Karnataka’s decision to approach the Central Water Commission on the Mekedatu matter without the concurrence of Tamil Nadu was in violation of the top court’s verdict.