State likely to move tribunal on Mahadayi water
The State government is likely to file an application before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal seeking an interim order to utilise 7.56 tmc ft from Kalasa and Banduri canals for drinking water purposes for towns and villages in Hubli-Dharwad, Bagalkot, Gadag and Belgaum.
Seeking an interim order from Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was the unanimous opinion at a meeting of floor leaders of the two houses of legislature chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bangalore on Monday to discuss the State’s next step on the water disputes issue.
The State has sought a total of 24.15 tmc ft as its share from Mahadayi river, which has its basin spread over the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. However, the government of Goa had taken objection to utilisation of Mahadayi water by Karnataka citing environmental reasons. Following Goa’s objection, the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal has been set up.
Officials in the water resources department told Deccan Herald that the State had to get an interim order to utilise water from the Tribunal in order to get clearances from the Central Water Commission and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for constructing a dam at Kalasa, which comes within forest area.
The officials pointed out unless the dam is constructed and water impounded, the State will be not be able to transfer water to inter-connecting canals. These canals are expected to be completed by July 2014, they said. Getting an interim order from the Tribunal would help the State in getting the necessary clearances and start work on the dam, the officials said. The Tribunal has set March 4 for next hearing.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the State government will finalise its stand to be taken before the Tribunal after holding one more round of discussion with its legal and technical teams.
He said the Tribunal team headed by the former Supreme Court judge J M Panchal visited Mahadayi basin and also inspected Kalsa-Surla confluence and Kalsa dam site and interconnecting canals in the State last week.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly H D Kumaraswamy said the State should give priority to constructing the dam.
BJP Floor Leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said the government should file a petition seeking interim relief before the tribunal immediately. Siddaramaiah said the State government will soon convene a meeting of floor leaders to discuss the award of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II.