Karnataka pleads for verdict on Mhadei after poll

VISHANT VAZE, BICHOLIM | 02 April 2014 22:06 IST

Karnataka government had pleaded with the Mhadei water dispute tribunal to deliver its verdict on illegal diversion of Mhadei waters after Lok Sabha election, in order to avoid ‘social tension’ as the verdict may go against the southern state.

Senior counsel Fali Nariman, on behalf of Karnataka government, has also given a proposal to put bundhs on the canals to stop diversion of water from Kankumbi onwards.

Goa Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni has assured the court to respond in this regard by tomorrow, after consulting chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

Instead of arguing on the matter after two-day long arguments of Goa state, Nariman pleaded with the tribunal to keep its verdict pending as it may create social tension while the state is going for Lok Sabha poll on 17 April.

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

The illegal work had started in 2006 and almost 80 per cent of the work is being already completed, in violation of orders delivered even by the Karnataka high court.

AG Nadkarni, while arguing the case, pointed out that the canals were constructed without valid permissions of either the Ministry of Environment and Forest or the Water Resources Department.

He also brought to the notice of the tribunal that no natural flow of water can be disturbed under Wild Life Protection Act 1972 when the whole Mhadei forest has been notified as a sanctuary.

It is our responsibility to preserve and protect the flora and fauna as well as biodiversity of the rich forests of Mhadei, while the diversion of water would violate all these legal provisions.

Karnataka, while violating the laws, has completed almost 80 per cent work of constructing canals.

As a face-saving devise, the southern state is now proposing to put bundhs on these canals in order to stop the water, which is proposed to be diverted.

It needs to be seen what stand Goa government takes tomorrow on the proposal while whether the court orders to demolish the illegal construction of canals.  

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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