Goa CM to meet Javdekar over Kalasa-Banduri project

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Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will lead an all-party delegation to meet Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javdekar, in order to request the latter to withdraw his ministry’s letter giving a green signal to Karnataka’s controversial Kalasa-Banduri dam project across the Mhadei river.

The move comes on the heels of a similar demand made by Opposition parties, who have also criticised the BJP, as well as Sawant’s leadership, claiming allowing Karnataka to build the dam in order to divert water from the basin of the Mhadei river, would cause an ecological disaster in Goa. The Mhadei, is an inter-state river, which originates in Karnataka, but flows into Goa, after briefly passing through Maharashtra.

“We had requested the Chief Minister to lead the delegation to the Centre, to urge Prakash Javdekar to withdraw the letter which allows Karnataka to go ahead with the project. We are confident that the case of the Goa government is strong and the MoEF will withdraw the communication,” state Bharatiya Janata Party president Vinay Tendulkar told reporters here. The all-party delegation is expected to leave for Delhi on November 4.

The Kalasa-Banduri dam aims to divert water from the Mhadei basin to the deficit basin of the Malaprabha river ostensibly for drinking purposes.

The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.

An inter-state water dispute Tribunal, set up by the central government, after hearing the over two-decade old dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over Mhadei river water sharing had, in its award in August 2018, allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) from the Mhadei river basin (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka. Maharashtra has been allotted 1.33 TMC.

The Goa government has subsequently filed a special leave petition challenging some provisions of the award and has also accused Karnataka of illegally diverting water from the Mhadei basin, even before the Award is formally implemented.

Panaji, Oct 31 (IANS)

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