BELAGAVI: Six days after the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a Joint Inspection Committee to investigate whether the Karnataka government had diverted Mandovi water under the Mahadayi project, violating court’s orders, the Karnataka government has nominated a senior engineer to represent it on the committee. At the same time, the Karnataka government has written to heads of the Water Resources Departments in Maharashtra and Goa to immediately nominate their members to the committee.
Despite Karnataka’s assertion that it has never diverted water from Mandovi river via Kalasa nala at Kankumbi, on the Goa border, the Goa government had filed a contempt petition in the apex court against Karnataka for breach of court orders. Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources Department, said in a letter to his counterparts in Maharashtra and Goa that Krishnoji Rao, Superintending Engineer, Malaprabha Left Bank Canal Circle, Naviluteertha, Belagavi, has been nominated to the Joint Inspection Committee.
Dyamannavar R B, Superintending Engineer, GRBC Circle, Hidkal, has been nominated by the State Government as Nodal Officer to coordinate with the Joint Inspection Committee during its visit to the Mahadayi project site. “It is suggested that the team may take up the visit in the first or second week of March. The officials nominated by Maharashtra and Goa to the committee are advised to contact the Nodal Officer for taking further needful action in this regard,” the letter said.
The Water Resources Department had recently held a meeting in Bengaluru along with legal experts and senior officials to discuss measures to be taken to expedite the cases related to irrigation projects in the Supreme Court. The State Government woke up only after some legal experts from Karnataka in the Supreme Court expressed discontent over the continued callousness of the government to prepare itself to face the court cases seriously.
“Although the contention of the Goa government that water was illegally diverted by Karnataka under the Mahadayi project is totally baseless, we (Karnataka) suffered the setback as we were not prepared to fight the case seriously,’’ a noted Supreme Court advocate from Karnataka had recently told TNIE. Water Resources Department sources are confident that the Kalasa-Banduri project will gain pace once the Joint Inspection Committee visits the project site. Senior Supreme Court advocate representing Karnataka in the Mahadayi issue, Mohan Katarki, also has asked the state to strengthen its legal teams.