BENGALURU: Karnataka has decided to file an interlocutory application (IA) before the Justice J M Panchal Tribunal seeking an interim award in the inter-state river water dispute with Goa and Maharashtra.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who led an all-party delegation to Delhi, announced the decision after a detailed discussion with the state’s legal team headed by Fali S Nariman over the dispute on Monday.
The Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar, senior BJP leader and former water resources minister Basavaraj Bommai, senior JD(S) legislator Kona Reddy, Water Resources Minister M B Patil, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra and others were part of the delegation.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said, it had been decided to file an interim petition before the tribunal considering the urgency and emergency situation in the state. A severe drought has gripped 136 of the 176 taluks in Karnataka.
“We had to decide on filing an interim petition as there is an emergency situation. The farmers have intensified their agitation for water. We need an interim award from the Tribunal,” Siddaramaiah said. The delegation discussed legal, technical and all other aspects of the dispute before deciding on filing the interim petition. The legal team will draft the petition, which will then be whetted by Nariman before filing it before the Tribunal, Siddaramaiah stated. When asked about Nariman’s earlier advice to the state government against filing any petition for an interim award, Siddaramaiah said the lawyer had responded positively.
According to sources, the proposed Interlocutory Application is likely to seek permission to bring immediately 2 TMCft of water from Kalasa-Banduri to Malaprabha reservoir through a canal to supply drinking water for areas of North Karnataka and in the long term seek the nod for utilising 7.56 TMCft of water by constructing reservoir at Kalasa.
Kalasa-Banduri dispute Mahadayi (Mandovi) river originates and flows for 28 km in Karnataka and meanders through Maharashtra and Goa before reaching the Arabian Sea.
Karnataka has planned to utilise 7.56 TMC of water from Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of Mahadayi to meet the scarcity in drinking water in Belagavi, Gadag, Hubballi and Dharwad. Karnataka proposes to divert 7.56 TMC to the Malaprabha river basin by implementing the Kalasa Banduri Naala project.
Course of the Dispute
■ In 1989, then chief minister S R Bommai reached an understanding with his Goa counterpart Pratap Singh Rane to share Mahadayi water, but failed to implement it after the collapse of his government
■ Subsequent Goa governments refused to endorse the Rane-Bommai pact
■ In 2000, the S M Krishna Government took the initiative to implement the Kalasa-Banduri Project
■ In 2001, the state sought permission from the centre to divert 7.56 TMCft of water from Mahadayi to quench the drinking water needs of Hubballi-Dharwad and other towns
■ The Centre gave a clearance in-principle for the project in 2002, but kept it in abeyance following an objection from Goa
■ In 2006, Goa filed a petition in the SC seeking a stay on the Karnataka Government’s effort to execute the project