Karnataka restarts canal work, to divert Goa's lifeline river

VISHANT VAZE, BICHOLIM | 06 December 2015 23:05 IST

In blatant violation of the court orders, desperate Karnataka has once again started construction works of the Kalsa canal, to divert the waters of River Mhadei (Mandovi), at Kankumbi beyond Chorla Ghat.

The works at Kalsa canal, which is meant to divert Mhadei water to Karnataka’s Malprabha river, was stopped almost a year ago as per the order of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal.  

The hearing is expected to resume from 23 February while Karnataka government has filed an interim plea this week to allow the state to divert 7 TMC water of Mhadei.

The work has restarted in four different ways:

-          The work to construct the incomplete work of canal has started from Amyacho Vhal to the Inspection Bungalow (as seen in the photo).

-          Mini muddy dam is being built to stop the water coming to the canal which is already built.

-          Water accumulated in the canal is being pumped out to continue the incomplete construction work.

-          The excavation work at the canal has also begun.

The contractor of Karnataka Niravari Nigum told this journalist that the construction work of the canal would start after the water is pumped out and the mud inside is excavated.

While Karnataka had gone ahead with the construction work of the Kalsa canal, the Tribunal had ordered to stop the work as well as to seal the canals by constructing concrete blocks, so that Mhadei water is not diverted.

Water accumulated in the constructed Kalsa canal

GOVTS ALERTED

When contacted, Goa’s WRD Minister Dayanand Mandrekar told goanews.com that he would immediately talk to the chief minister as well as the officials to work out an action plan to stop the restarted work.

“Karnataka has been trying to instigate Goa since 2006 through all such illegal means but we would follow the legal path”, said Mandrekar firmly.

Environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar, who exposed Karnataka’s plan to divert Goa’s lifeline (also called Mandovi in Panaji), felt Karnataka is inviting more trouble for themselves through such illegal acts.

“We will inform all the concerned authorities about this illegal act, including the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF)”, said the secretary of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan.

DESPERATE KARNATAKA

Probably realising that they would lose the case before the Tribunal, Karnataka is desperately trying for out-of-court settlement while also organising series of protests in Karnataka, involving political and religious leaders and even lawyers and Kannada film stars.

Several delegations came to Goa while few more are still being planned, stating that the Southern neighbouring state needs water for drinking purpose in Dharward and neighbouring districts.

 

With a plea to divert 7 TMC water for drinking water, Karnataka started the Kalsa-Bandura project on 2 October 2006.

Almost 80 per cent of the work is already completed while the aggressive southern state is trying to complete the remaining work by violating environmental norms and court orders.

THE BACKGRUND

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.

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