Two years after the Centre notified the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) award, the BJP government has issued an order for the implementation of a hydropower project using water from the disputed river’s basin.
This comes at a time when the BJP government is under pressure from the Opposition Congress on implementing various water resources projects, including Mahadayi and Mekedatu.
According to an order issued earlier this month, the government has given approval to the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) to implement the Mahadayi Hydro Power Project, as per the final verdict of the MWDT.
The government order cites the final report of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT), stating that Karnataka can make use of 8.02 tmc water for power generation.
In its August 2018 award, which the Centre notified in February 2020, the tribunal allocated 13.42 tmcft of water to Karnataka, which includes 5.40 tmcft for consumptive use.
KPCL managing director V Ponnuraj told DH that they are working out the details. “It’s still in the preliminary stage. We need to work out the detailed project report (DPR) and the implementation cost,” he said.
Even after the Tribunal award, there are cases pending before the Supreme Court, challenging the water allocation. Recently, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the apex court is hearing cases as Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa had filed objections on the water allocation.
Notwithstanding the pending case, officials in both the energy and water resources departments explained that the government was well within its right to plan the project as long as it adhered to the existing tribunal award.
According to an official in the water resources department, the pending cases in Supreme Court pertain to claims by the state governments for additional water allocation, on top of what has already been awarded by the Tribunal. There is no problem is preparing DPRs as per the Tribunal award that has already been notified.
“But, Karnataka must obtain statutory clearances for the DPRs from agencies such as the Central Water Commission and forest department,” the official said.
Meanwhile, sources in the energy department said the ball is now in the court of the KPCL, which needs to take the project forward by preparing a DPR for the hydro power project.
Watch the latest DH Videos here: