Karnataka canal work reaches near completion to divert Mhadei

VISHANT VAZE, BICHOLIM | 22 February 2016 22:25 IST

Defying the court directives, Karnataka government has almost completed the canal work at Kankumbi to divert Mhadei water while the tribunal hearing scheduled tomorrow may be postponed.

This reporter visited the site of Kalsa-Bandura canal at Kankumbi today to witness round-the-clock work going on with heavy machinery and almost 50 trucks lined up to excavate the land.

State authorities have not even bothered that the excavation would damage the Mauli temple, which has already developed cracks.

Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni told goanews.com that they have no official intimation but tomorrow’s hearing could be adjourned as it is said the chairman of the tribunal is indisposed.

“Our witness is ready and we are all set to depose before the tribunal”, he said.

The Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal had not only ordered to block the canal with  concrete walls but had objected to the ongoing construction work.

Karnataka plans to divert 3.56 TMC of Mhadei (called River Mandovi in Panaji) water to River Malprabha through this canal, to meet drinking water problem of Huballi, Dharwad and surrounding villages.

The works of open cut canals, hard rock excavation, cement vent RCC boxes, two nalla inlet transitions and cross regulator have already been completed by Karnataka Niravari Nigum.

Villagers of Kankumbi are watching the ongoing work helplessly in a completely polluted environment all around.

 

“While this project is built to meet somebody’s drinking water requirement, we are already facing problem of acute water shortage here due to excavation of our ground water”, says Vasudev Khorti, a local Karnataka resident.

Enraged with the excavation work adjacent to the Mauli temple, Narayan Gurav said the contractor now tells us that he would repair the temple once the work is complete.

Nirmala Sawant, former Goa minister and convenor of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan, told goanews.com that Goa and Goans need to be more aggressive to counter the socio-political pressure the neighbouring state is building through mass protests of various kinds.

Besides the canal, Karnataka also has plans to construct dams at Kalsa and Haltar, which would drastically reduce the water flowing down to Goa.

The plans however have been stalled temporarily as the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has not permitted to construct anything in the forest belt. 

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