Bengaluru: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Wednesday said that the earlier intimation given to Karnataka over clearances given to Kalasa-Banduri (or Bandura) has been put on hold.
The ministry said that the facts, subsequently made available pointed towards the award of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal (MWDT) dated 14 August 2018 filed by the Governments of Goa and Karnataka are still pending. The award has also been challenged before the Supreme Court by all three stakeholders that includes Maharashtra as well.
In a letter written to the chief engineer of Karnataka Neeravari Nigama on Wednesday, the ministry said that “pending resolution of all these cases relating to the matter, the letter issued earlier by this Ministry is kept in Abeyance."
The letter comes two days after Goa Congress held protests in Delhi against the decision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to give environmental clearances for the controversial project in Karnataka.
Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on 23 October said that the centre had given environmental approval for the Kalasa-Banduri (or Bandura) drinking water project in Karnataka that came as a huge sigh of relief for the B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government.
The project proposes to divert water Mahadayi river (also known as Mandovi) from Kalasa and Banduri canals into the Malaprabha river. The project aims to facilitate drinking water 13 towns of Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkote and Gadag that is part of the northern parts of Karnataka that is home to the second most arid regions in the country after Rajasthan.
“This has become a bigger political issue than a technical one," said a senior official in Karnataka’s water resources department, requesting not to be named. He said that even though the issue of yield of water has been more or less decided, the two sides--Karnataka and Goa--are yet to resolve the issue that could prove a boon for the otherwise parched northern districts of the state.
“Why keep it in abeyance, why not revoke it," Trajano D'mello, the media convenor of the Congress party in Goa said on Wednesday. He accused the Modi-led BJP government of making the announcement before the elections (bypolls) in Karnataka even though the case was being heard in the courts and tribunals. He said that the centre is capable of making an announcement in favour of Goa ahead of its assembly elections in 2022.