Kalasa-Banduri: Goa all-party delegation meets Javadekar



An all-party delegation from Goa led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday met Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar and submitted a memorandum urging him to withdraw his ministry's October 23 letter which gave the Karnataka government the go-ahead for its controversial Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project across the Mhadei river.

Sawant was accompanied by Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat, Goa Forward party president Vijai Sardesai, Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao and others. Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, who is an MP from North Goa Lok Sabha constituency, was also present when the delegation submitted its memorandum to Javadekar.

"Accompanied an all-party delegation led by CM Goa at Shastri Bhavan, Delhi and met Prakash Javadekarji, Hon'ble Union Minister for I&B and Environment & Forests and submitted memorandum regarding Mhadei issue," Naik tweeted. A meeting of the members of the delegation and Javadekar is currently underway.

The Goa government has objected to the MoEF's green nod to the Rs 841 crore project, which aims to divert additional water from the basin of the Mhadei, an inter-state river, into the deficit basin of the Malaprabha river in Karnataka ostensibly for drinking water purposes.

Sawant has maintained that the MoEF cannot take a unilateral decision on the Kalasa-Banduri issue because the matter is currently subjudice on account of special leave petition filed by the Goa government in the Supreme Court, which has alleged illegalities in the water diversion project.

Sawant has also said if Javadekar's ministry does not withdraw the letter to the Karnataka government, his government would file an appeal before the National Green Tribunal or the Supreme Court. The opposition has described the MoEF nod as a politically-driven decision, with an eye on the upcoming bypolls to 15 Assembly constituencies in the southern state.

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

An inter-state water disputes 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.IANS