State to seek notification of Krishna, Mahadayi awards

A view of Mahadayi river. ( DH photo)

The state government has decided to press the Supreme Court to urgently consider its plea for notification of the Krishna and the Mahadayi water disputes tribunal awards.

It has also decided to approach the Mahadayi tribunal to fix a specific date for deciding its plea for clarification, since the entire allocation of 13.42 tmc ft of water was going unutilised to the sea, pending non-publication of the award.

In a meeting of legal as well as the technical team here on Sunday, a strategy was formulated to pursue effectively the cases related to water disputes, to enable the state utilise the water resources to the optimum level, including one concerning Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project.

For both the Krishna as well as Mahadayi water disputes, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has already sent representations to the prime minister, to seek early notification of the award.

The meeting, presided over by Karnataka’s Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadagi, resolved to seek a direction for early notification of the Mahadayi award from the Supreme Court, since “there would be no prejudice to Goa in so far as Karnataka utilising 5.4 tmc ft out of 13.42 tmcft of water allocated to it”.

According to the award, as much as 5.4 tmcft was meant for consumptive use, including 3.9 tmc ft for drinking water needs of Hubballi-Dharwad region by diverting water of Mahadayi basin. As much as 8.02 tmc ft has been earmarked for non-consumptive use, for the Mahadayi Hydro-Electric Project.

‘Goa has no grounds’

Notably, it was pointed out in the meeting that, “Goa practically has no counter except to say that the project causes ecological problem, which has to be addressed by the Union government.” The Union government, for its part, had on December 24, 2019 stated it would consider granting environmental clearances after publication of the award.

In the Cauvery water dispute, the Supreme Court had then directed to notify the award pending disposal of the special leave petition. Therefore, it was decided to make Jal Shakti Ministry as a formal party in the pending matter.

The matter pertaining to Mahadayi and Krishna water disputes and Mekedatu project are pending before the Supreme Court. It was decided to hold meetings with senior advocate Shyam Divan for pursuing the three cases.

The state government also decided to file its objection to the plea by Telangana for reconstitution of Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, for being ex-facie not maintainable.

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