The environmental sanction for Kalasa-Banduri project from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, is a big relief towards implementation of the project, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said on Wednesday.
Karnataka wants to use the Mahadayi river water from its tributaries Kalasa and Banduri to the drought-hit districts of north Karnataka.
Speaking to mediapersons here, Yediyurappa gave credit for the development to the BJP government.
"Since the environmental ministry has cleared the project, it feels 90% of the approval has been given for the project. I had assured that we will resolve the Kalasa-Banduri issue if our party came to power. Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have worked towards providing this relief."
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told DH that the environmental clearance had saved at least eight years in the project process. "The previous Congress government was not ready to commit to this. This is a very big initiative by the government," he said.
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar hailed Joshi's efforts in a tweet: "On the follow-up by my cabinet colleague Pralhad Joshi, Kalasa Banduri drinking water project in Karnataka has been granted environmental approval."
Although this is a big step, the way forward remains unclear at the moment. For, the state government had, last year, appealed to the Supreme Court, against the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal verdict. Also, the Centre is yet to issue a notification on the verdict, without which, the state cannot claim its share of water.
"Both Karnataka and Goa have appealed to the Supreme Court. I do not want to comment on the appeal before the Apex Court. But we, as leaders of the region, are putting sincere efforts in resolving the issue," Joshi added.
Last year, Karnataka appealed to the apex court against the tribunal's decision to limit the allocation of water to 13.5 tmcft to the state (out of which 5.4 tmcft is for consumption and the rest for hydro-electricity), while allowing surplus water to flow into the sea. On August 14 last year, the Tribunal granted 1.33 tmcft to Maharashtra and 24 tmc ft to Goa.