Party delegation under Goa CM meet Javadekar

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. (PTI Photo)

An all-party delegation led by Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant met Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday to discuss the state's concerns on the reported issuance of environment clearance to Karnataka for Kalasa Banduri project on Mahadayi river.

Goa and Karnataka are locked in a dispute over the sharing of Mahadayi waters, and Kalasa Banduri project aims at providing drinking water to three north Karnataka districts by diverting water from the Mahadayi.

However, there is confusion over the status of the environment clearance issued as CM Sawant had earlier said that no such move was made by the Centre while Javadekar had withdrawn an earlier tweet announcing it.

In a statement released after the meeting, Sawant said Javdekar had assured written communication on the Mahadayi matter within ten days.

Sawant said the delegation submitted a representation and highlighted the wrongful manner in which a letter was issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited regarding Kalasa- Banduri project.

"Every member expressed his views. After listening to everyone Javdekarji assured his support to protect the interest of the state and people of Goa," Sawant tweeted.

The delegation that met the Union minister in Delhi included state Water Resources Department Minister Philip Nery Rodrigues, Leader of Opposition and former CM Digambar Kamat, Goa Forward Party's Vijai Sardesai, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader Sudin Dhavalikar and NCP's Churchill Alemao.

Kamat said Javadekar claimed ignorance about the issuance of any letter about environment clearance, adding that the latter assured the delegation of clarity on the issue in ten days time.

"I have urged Javadekar to ensure no injustice is done to Goa. I demanded that the consent letter (reportedly given to Karnataka) be withdrawn immediately. We brought it to the notice of his ministry that Mahadayi river dispute is pending in court," Kamat said.

GFP's Sardesai said, "My fear that on Mhadei (spelling commonly used in Goa), Goa's interests were being sacrificed for Karnataka bypolls turned out to be true."

He added, "The minister's stand that the approval for the diversion of Mhadei water was done by a low level officer clearly appears to be hollow, as there is no justification for the tweet by the minister and a thank you by Dharwad MP and Union Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi."

Sardesai alleged the ten-day deadline given by Javadekar to clarify the issue is timed with the process of filing nominations for the Karnataka bypolls.

He said his party had filed a 133-page petition with the National Green Tribunal to ensure Goa's interest in the Mahadayi river dispute was not compromised.

In a tweet, former minister Rohan Khanute termed the meeting an eye-wash and said the protests and the NGT petition by the GFP had "stopped the Goo government from selling Mhadei".

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