Mahadayi tribunal report mum on Goa's concerns

Despite the Goa government’s concerns that the Kalasa-Banduri project would result in drinking water shortage in the state, the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal-appointed assessors have not expressed any such opinion.

The assessors, in their report submitted to the tribunal after studying the project, were also silent on  a crucial issue raised by Goa that the proposed scheme would cause ecological and environmental disasters in the state. 

The assessors observed that the interconnecting canal, part of the Kalasa Diversion Scheme started by Karnataka in 2006 to facilitate transfer of water from Mahadayi  to Malaprabha river for meeting the drinking water requirements of Hubli-Dharwad, is nearing completion.  

The assessors also said the interconnecting canal “would remain unused” unless the other components — the proposed Haltara and Kalasa dams — are constructed. 

They said the Kalasa-Banduri scheme may impact water requirement in the downstream reaches lying in the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary.  

The assessors were earlier accompanied by the tribunal team members headed by retired Supreme Court judge J M Panchal during their visit to Mahadayi river basin area in Goa and Karnataka in last December.  

The tribunal, which met on Tuesday, was adjourned to April 1, 2014 to consider the interlocutory application filed by Goa against the construction of the Kalasa-Banduri diversion scheme in Karnataka.

The tribunal was expected to hear the interlocutory application filed by Goa on Tuesday, but it could not do so because Goa moved an application for amendments to incorporate new paragraphs in its application and statement of case. 

Senior counsel for Karnataka F S Nariman appearing before the tribunal opposed Goa’s plea for amendments on the ground that the new facts sought to be incorporated were beyond the terms of reference which controlled the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Nariman said the new facts pleaded by Goa, that Karnataka had alternative resources from Bedthi river etc., were  beyond the terms of reference.  

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