Centre orders salinity test of Mahadayi after Goa complains about Karnataka’s projects
The National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee will study of salinity of river Mahadayi after concerns raised by Goa that Karnataka’s Kalasa Banduri River Diversion project will adversely affect the availability of fresh water in the state.Updated: Aug 06, 2020 20:01 IST
The Ministry of Jal Shakti has asked the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee to take up the study of salinity of river Mahadayi in view of the concerns raised by the Goa government that Karnataka’s Kalasa Banduri River Diversion project will adversely affect the availability of fresh water in the state
“Taking into account the concerns raised by you regarding the issue of salinity in Mahadayi River, this Ministry has assigned National Institute of Hydrology. Roorkee to take up the study of salinity of river Mahadayi and submit a report to this Ministry,” Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, said in a letter to Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
Sawant had written to Shekhawat in March expressing apprehensions about Karnataka’s plan to fast track the Mahadayi project and had asked Shekhawat not to process any permissions until the matter was finally decided by the Supreme Court where it is now pending.
“Karnataka may attempt to seek your approval for such diversion outside the basin relying upon the Award of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal dated 14.08.2018 In this regard. We wish to state that the Award dated 14.08.2018 is pending before the Hon. Supreme Court of India,” Sawant said in his letter.
“Such proposal should not be considered in view of above-mentioned reasons as the same is going to have far reaching consequences on the State of Goa. In any case, if any proposal is submitted by Karnataka, we must be given a copy of the same and our objections should also be considered. Kamataka is likely to submit the proposal which may not be even in consonance with the Award of the Tribunal,” Sawant also said.
Shekhawat has, however, declined to specifically assure Goa that no permissions will be processed.
“The Government of Karnataka has recently submitted feasibility report of Kalasa Nala Diversion Scheme and Bhandura Nala Diversion Scheme to Central Water Commission (CWC), and these are under appraisal as per the existing CWC guidelines and as per the directions given in the Report cum decision of MWDT (Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal),” Shekhawat said.
Quoting the Tribunal itself, Shekhawat said that “the upper riparian States of Karnataka and Maharashtra, though do require requisite clearances and approvals, as required by law and from the Central Government, and the Planning Commission (Now Niti Aayog), but they do not require any prior consent of the lower riparian State of Goa.”
But he agreed to share Karnataka’s proposal with Goa since “any project proposed in the river basin for which no tribunal award or inter State agreement exists, will be circulated to the co-basin States by the Project Authority Central Water Commission (CWC).”
Goa has opposed any diversion of waters of the River Mahadayi which originates in the Western Ghats in Karnataka takes a detour via Maharashtra and enters Goa as the Mandovi. The Mahadayiriver basin drains an area of 2,032 sq.km., out of which an area of 375 sq.km. lies in Karnataka, 77 sq.km. in Maharashtra and rest in Goa.