'Will fight legal battle with Karnataka over Mahadayi'

'Will fight legal battle with Karnataka over Mahadayi'

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Goa Water Resources Minister Philip Neri Rodrigues on Thursday said the letter written by Union Environment Ministry about the Kalasa Banduri project had no value, as the dispute about Mahadayi river diversion is pending before the Supreme Court.

"The SC is hearing the contempt petition filed by the Goa government against Karnataka for diverting Mahadayi river illegally and forcibly," Rodrigues told reporters here.

Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar had written a letter to Karnataka government on December 24, claiming that Kalsa Bhnduri project on Mahadayi does not require Environment Clearance (EC) as it is a project for drinking water purposes.

The ministers letter evoked a strong response in the coastal state with opposition parties and NGOs questioning the `failure' of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to protect the Mahadayi river.

Rodrigues said that Goan people need not panic over the Union minister's letter as it has no value.

"We have filed a contempt petition before the SC. If they start the work again on the project, we will approach the supreme court again," he said.

Rodrigues conceded that the constructions over Mahadayi river by Karnataka has resulted in diversion of water, due to which there is an impact on ecology in areas of Goa which are downstream.

A team of Goa WRD officials have prepared a detailed report which will be submitted to the SC, he said.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress demanded that the state government call a one-day Assembly session to discuss the issue.

Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said the Assembly should pass a unanimous resolution demanding that Mahadayi water should not be diverted.

"An All party delegation should then meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek his intervention," he added. 

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