Goa misusing legal provisions to delay Kalasa-Banduri project: Karnataka Law minister

2/26/2021

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 Karnataka law minister, Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said that that the state was ready for any inspection as Karnataka's conscience is clear with regard to implementing Kalasa-Banduri drinking water project, while alleging that Goa was misusing legal provisions to delay this project.

The sharing of the waters of Mahadayi river is a cause of dispute between the governments of Karnataka and Goa since the early 80s. Karnataka has started the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project to divert some water from the Mahadayi river to the Malaprabha River basin.

Mahadayi Water Tribunal under Interstate River Water Disputes Act in August 2018, passed a verdict permitting Goa to use 24 tmcft (excluding the 9.395 tmcft prevailing uses), Karnataka to use 5.4 tmcft (including 3.9 tmcft for export outside the basin) and Maharashtra to use 1.33 tmcft for consumptive purposes.

Even the union government has issued a gazette notification on 27 February 2020 permitting the Karnataka state to draw 13.42 tmcft of water from the Mahadayi river out of which Eight tmcft is for power generation.

Addressing mediapersons after a series of meetings with legal experts and officials jointly held along with major and medium irrigation minister, Ramesh Jarakiholi here, Bommai said that there is neither any breach of trust nor diversion work, therefore, Karnataka is ready for any inspection.

He alleged that Goa was trying to misuse legal provisions as well as courts delay the project inordinately, but they will not succeed much in this as Karnataka is ready for inspection, which Goa has been asking for.

He also appealed to the union government to give all clearances at once soon after this inspection is over in order to complete the drinking water project soon.

The Law Minister added that the Supreme Court ordering a committee of riparian states to inspect the project worksite at Kanakumbi in Belagavi district to ascertain any diversion and said Karnataka was ready for the inspection as there was no chance of any diversion.

Asserting that Karnataka was going by the tribunal's order on sharing of the river water, he accused Goa of misusing courts and legal procedures to delay Mayadayi's Kalasa-Banduri project.

While major and medium irrigation minister, Ramesh Jarakiholi said on Friday that the ruling BJP is committed to protect the interest of Karnataka on other inter-state river water disputes like Mahadayi with Goa and Krishna river with Maharashtra also.

Jarakiholi added that he had held a meeting with the state's legal team on the inter-state water dispute in Delhi on Sunday, and had also met Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in this regard.

Karnataka had claimed throughout that channelling the river water into the basin of Malaprabha, a tributary of the Krishna, would meet the requirements of water-scarce districts of Bagalkot, Gadag, Dharwad and Belagavi.

Goa, seeking redressal to the dispute in 2002, sought the constitution of a water disputes tribunal. The state also moved the apex court in 2006 with its demand. After sustained efforts by the Goan government, the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up on November 16, 2010.

Source: IANS

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