Goa CM takes on MoEF over Kalasa-Banduri project

Panaji, Oct 23 : In a late development Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant took on the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests over the granting of environment clearance to the Karnataka’s controversial Kalasa-Banduri project across the Mhadei river, saying his government was in the dark about the issue and would challenge the EC in the National Green Tribunal.

In a series of tweets Sawant also said that the river Mhadei was like a mother to the people to Goa and said that the MoEF could not take such decisions to grant the EC, without consulting the Goa government on the matter. The river Mhadei flows through Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.

“Mhadei is more than mother to us. We shall protect it at any cost. Officially Government of Goa is not aware of any EC having been granted to Karnataka affecting Mhadei river. According to us such EC can’t be granted without hearing Goa Government and without considering the case of State of Goa. In case such EC is issued without hearing State of Goa, we shall challenge the same before appropriate forum including NGT,” Sawant said.

Earlier today, the MoEF granted EC to the Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project, which has been contested by the Goa government in the Supreme Court.

“On the follow up of my cabinet colleague @JoshiPrahlad, Kalasa-Banduri drinking water project in #Karnataka has been granted Environment Approval,” Javadekar tweeted.

The Opposition has demanded the summoning of a special session of the state assembly to address the issue.

The Mhadei, or Mandovi, river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of Goa. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.

The Tribunal hearing the over two-decade old dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over Mhadei river water sharing had, in its award in August 2018, allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) from the Mhadei river basin (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka. Maharashtra has been allotted 1.33 TMC.

/IANS

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