Goa demands withdrawal of Kalasa-Banduri nod

Kalasa-Banduri project across the Mahadayi river (DH Photo)

Stepping up pressure on the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to withdraw its nod given to the controversial Kalasa-Banduri project across the Mahadayi river, an all-party delegation, comprising top leaders of national and regional parties led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, met the Minister In-charge Prakash Javadekar here.

"The minister was kind enough to assure a written communication on the same within 10 days. Every member expressed their views. After listening to everyone, Javadekar assured his support to protect the interest of the state and people of Goa," Sawant said in a statement after the meeting.

The members of the delegation who met Javadekar, whose letter to the Karnataka government, giving his ministry's nod to the project on October 23 first triggered the controversy, included state leader of opposition and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, former deputy chief ministers Vijai Sardesai and Sudin Dhavalikar of the Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao and Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, among others.

The memorandum submitted by the delegation demands the immediate withdrawal of Javadekar's letter, claiming that issue of the Kalasa-Banduri canal is sub judice because of a special leave petition filed by the Goa government in the Supreme Court, which alleges illegalities in the project promoted by the Karnataka government.

Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said that Javadekar in his conversation with the Goa delegation had said that he was not aware of any such letter issued by his ministry.  

Petition filed in NGT

Meanwhile, a petition was filed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the environment clearance given to the project, on Monday.

Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai filed a petition before the Principal Bench of the NGT and urged to halt the clearance immediately. The petitioner alleged that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has taken unilateral decision despite the Goa's opposition to the project.

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