SC to decide on Mhadei diversion soon after mining case

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 09 May 2013 21:56 IST

The disposal of mining case of Goa in the Supreme Court would expedite yet another and much more important case for Goa – the diversion of Mhadei water by Karnataka government.

The forest bench of the apex court would take up the matter now - as soon as the mining case is disposed - almost after four years.

The Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) would play a major role also in this matter as it has submitted a sealed envelope to the Supreme Court of all the illegalities committed by the Karnataka government in an attempt to divert the Mhadei water to Malprabha River.

Nirmala Sawant, the convenor of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan, is in fact waiting eagerly to get the mining case disposed of.

“I have been waiting since 2009 for the case to come up before the Supreme Court”, Sawant told goanews.com.

She had challenged in 2006 Karnataka’s continued attempt to divert the Mhadei (river Mandovi in Goa) waters to its Malprabha river basin through Western Ghat region.

Karnataka government is constructing a canal at Kalsa-Bhandura to divert Haltar rivulet of Mhadei River to Malprabha River in Kankumbi.

Sawant had thus filed a petition before the Supreme Court in 2006, alleging gross violation of Wild Life Protection Act 1972 while praying for protection of wild life and protection of forest.

The CEC had inspected the gross violations of the canal work by Karnataka, which was taken up without even obtaining environmental clearances form the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest as well as the National Board of Wildlife.

The MBA activists allege that the case however could never come up again for hearing as Karnataka’s Congress leader Veerappa Moily became the union law minister and managed through ‘his registrar’ that the case does not come up on the board.

The sigh of relief came only when the apex court constituted a separate forest bench and transferred even Mhadei case to this bench, listing it almost fifth on the list.

However, it got delayed due to mining matters of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and now Goa.

Rajendra Kerkar, the secretary of MBA, feels that the Supreme Court decision would be thus more crucial than the matter pending before the Mhadei water tribunal.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Shirodkar now claims that they would mediate with the Karnataka leaders of the Congress, which has now come to power this week.

“It would make absolutely no difference to the Mhadei issue since leaders of all the political parties in Karnataka are united on diverting Mhadei water”, states Kerkar.

Adding further, Sawant in fact alleges that neither such unity nor any inter-party co-ordination is visible in Goa from the time the issue of diversion has originated.

“Comparatively, Manohar Parrikar is the first chief minister to take active interest in the issue and activate the state machinery to fight for Goa’s right”, she said.

In fact, in view of the Congress coming to power both in Karnataka and at the centre, the MBA is now hopeful only about the Supreme Court to save Goa from a disaster.

The Karnataka presently plans to divert only 7.5 TMC water via Kalsa canal, but has more plans to divert rest of the water that may dry up the whole river Mandovi, the lifeline of Goa.

Mhadei originates in Karnataka, but flows more in Goa and is called river Mandovi once it crosses Sattari.

The life of seven talukas - Sattari, Bicholim, Ponda, Dharbandora, part of Sanguem, Bardez and Tiswadi is fully dependent on this river.

Goa covers 1580 sq kms of the catchment area of Mhadei basin while Karnataka covers only 375 sq kms.

It also includes 76 sq kms of catchment area in Maharashtra.

Karnataka plans to construct at least seven dams and three hydroelectric projects, by diverting the water to river Malprabha.

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image


Latest News

Mhadei