SC grants Centre 3 weeks on Goa, Karntaka water row

A Bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Haren Rawal that if steps were not taken for notifying the tribunal it would be forced to pass appropriate orders.

"We may have to pass an order if you don't do it," the Bench told the ASG after the latter sought three weeks time on the issue.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that it would constitute the tribunal but today when the matter came up for hearing it again sought three weeks forcing the apex court to pass the direction.

Goa, in its suit filed through counsel A Subhashini, has contended the project contemplated by Karnataka in the inter-state river of Mandovi involved diversion of water outside the basin, which was not permissible.

The state argued any extraction of water by the upper riparian state of Karnataka would deprive the inhabitants of Goa of drinking water and consequently affect their rights.
It said the project was aimed at transferring the waters outside the basin, which was clearly against the national water policy as it would result in the flow of the river being curtailed, hampered or stopped.

Goa wanted the Centre to immediately constitute a Mandovi River Water Disputes Tribunal for adjudication of the dispute.

Karnataka has, however, rebutted the argument claiming that the proposed diversion of water was only 7.56 tmcft annually, out of the total availability of 180 to 220 tmcft as estimated by Central Water Commission.

It took the plea that trans-basin diversion of water from the surplus Mandovi basin to the deficit Krishna basin for meeting drinking water supplies was permissible under the rules.
It sought dismissal of the suit on the ground that Goa had not made out any prima facie case for seeking stay on the execution of the project.

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