In tussle over Kalasa-Banduri canal project, Karnataka government hits out at Goa | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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In tussle over Kalasa-Banduri canal project, Karnataka government hits out at Goa

By, Gerard de Souza, Belagavi/panaji
Jul 10, 2024 07:52 AM IST

The Karnataka government on Tuesday took a jibe at the Goa government and said the probe “exposed the lies” told by chief minister Pramod Sawant, a day after the inspection of the halted Kalasa-Banduri canal project on the Mahadayi River along the Goa Karnataka border in Belagavi district by a central body team, was completed.

The Karnataka government on Tuesday took a jibe at the Goa government and said the probe “exposed the lies” told by chief minister Pramod Sawant, a day after the inspection of the halted Kalasa-Banduri canal project on the Mahadayi River along the Goa Karnataka border in Belagavi district by a central body team, was completed.

The PRAWAH team, constituted by the Jal Shakti ministry in May last year, comprises members nominated by Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the three states involved in the dispute. (HT Photos)
The PRAWAH team, constituted by the Jal Shakti ministry in May last year, comprises members nominated by Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the three states involved in the dispute. (HT Photos)

Meanwhile, Sawant on Tuesday said that the progressive river authority for water and harmony (PRAWAH), which conducted the inspection on Sunday, would soon submit a report to the Centre.

The Mahadayi PRAWAH was constituted by the Jal Shakti ministry in May last year to function as an authority overseeing the disputed Mahadayi river and to enable compliance and implementation of the final award given by the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal in 2018. The PRAWAH consists of members nominated by Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the three states involved in the dispute.

Day after the PRAWAH completed its inspection, a senior Karnataka official, who accompanied the team, told HT on the condition of anonymity: “The team’s findings expose the lies of Goa and its chief minister.”

The official, affiliated with the Karnataka irrigation department, claimed that the PRAWAH team found Sawant’s allegations of illegal construction at the Kalasa-Banduri site to be false. “The team will report to the central government that Karnataka adhered to all norms and conditions, and no violations occurred as claimed by the Goa government,” the official added.

The PRAWAH conducted a familiarisation visit at the request of the Goa government. On Sunday, the team travelled to Chorla-Kankumbi along the Goa Karnataka border where the project is expected to come up before heading to Bangalore for a joint meeting of the three states that was held in Bengaluru.

On Monday, PRAWAH and officials from Karnataka and Goa held a meeting in Bengaluru to discuss various issues related to the Mahadayi project. The meeting also addressed the detailed project report (DPR) of Maharashtra’s Virdi large and minor irrigation project.

“The Goan engineers were satisfied with Karnataka’s transparency regarding the Kalasa-Banduri project. No illegal activities were found at the project sites. PRAWAH is satisfied with our state’s compliance,” said another official who was part of the meeting.

BJP MP Basavaraj Bommai, former major irrigation department head, said: “While Goa may explore all possible ways to halt the Mahadayi water diversion to Malaprabha, Karnataka remains committed to implementing the project effectively, securing all necessary clearances from the Centre in the coming months.”

Goa has opposed any diversion of waters of the Mahadayi river, 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 2032 sq.km., out of which an area of 375 sq.km. lies in Karnataka, 77 sq.km. in Maharashtra and rest in Goa.

Both the Goa and Karnataka governments have, for very different reasons, challenged the final award granted by the Mahadayi Interstate Water Disputes Tribunal which in an verdict in August 2018 granted Karnataka a total of 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water out of their demand for from their total claims of 36.558 TMC of water.

Addressing media persons in Panaji, a day after pro-Karnataka activists held protests in Belagavi in Karnataka, Sawant said there was no reason for Karnataka to worry if they had done nothing wrong.

“I do not know why Karnataka is upset. It (PRAWAH) is an independent authority. They are conducting an inspection. Our members are on the team. It is necessary for the authority to conduct a fair inspection and that report will go. Whether they shred my photo or burn it, it means we are not the right track,” Sawant said.

Karnataka’s Kalasa-Banduri project aims to supply drinking water to Savadatti and Ramdurg taluks in Belagavi district, Hubballi-Dharwad cities, and Naragund and Navalgund taluks in Gadag district. The Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha, a farmers’ association, held a three-year protest, and the state even observed a bandh, demanding the project’s implementation.

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