'No environmental clearance needed for K'taka project'

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. (PTI photo)

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday wrote to the Karnataka government stating that a drinking water project on the Mahadayi river does not need environmental clearance, a move likely to opposed by Goa which has a dispute with that state over sharing the river's water.

Javadekar, in his letter to Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday, said the Kalasa Bhanduri project on the Mahadayi river does not require environment clearance.

A similar letter by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on October 17, 2019 had created controversy in Goa following which Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had to intervene.

On December 18, Javadekar, after his meeting with Sawant in Delhi, had kept the letter in abeyance.

"Let me make the position clear. Government of India has not kept in abeyance EIA notification 2006 and has also not kept in abeyance the rule which clarified that drinking water projects do not require EC," Javadekar has said in the letter, copy of which is with PTI.

"Karnataka can start work on the Kalsa Bhanduri Nala project after gazette notification of the Tribunal and necessary forest and wildlife permissions," the letter adds.

While Sawant was not available for comment, NGO Progressive Front of Goa, which has been agitating on the issue, has demanded the CM;'s resignation.

PGF leader Hrudaynath Shirodkar said Javdekar has made mockery of Goa on Christmas eve.

"On Christmas, BJP government has back-stabbed Goans. CM should resign," he said.

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