CM Siddaramaiah seeking Centre’s nod for Kalasa-Banduri irks Goans

Greens, oppn want Goa govt to stop Centre from giving go-head
The Mahadayi river
The Mahadayi river

BELAGAVI: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Sunday for the Centre’s green signal to implement the Kalasa-Banduri project has not gone down well with opposition parties and environmentalists in BJP-ruled Goa.

While claiming that the project poses threat to wildlife and environment, opposition parties in Goa have appealed to their government to put pressure on the PM not to allow Karnataka to go ahead with the project till the case pertaining to it is resolved in the Supreme Court.

After his meeting with the PM, Siddaramaiah took to X, saying that he urged the PM to direct the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to accord the needed environment and forest clearances to the state as the implementation of the project (by diverting water from Goa’s Mandovi river), a dream for people of Kittur-Karnataka region, would help tide over the water crisis in the region.

Opposition parties in Goa said the BJP and Goa government, which had pledged to protect Mahadayi, the lifeline of Goans, should demonstrate their commitment to the region by exerting pressure on the Centre to halt Karnataka from going ahead with the project.

On his X handle, Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao hit out at the Goa government and said, “Karnataka Congress government led by CM Siddaramaiah meets Modi demanding clearance to Kalasa-Banduri project. Surprisingly, Goa CM Pramod Sawant is not getting an appointment to take an all-party delegation to meet the PM to demand withdrawal of approval of DPR for Kalasa-Bandura project.’’

He said the Goa government miserably failed to protect the larger interests of Goans.

Environmentalists from the ‘Save Mahadayi Save Goa’ forum have condemned the request made by Siddaramaiah seeking approval for the project even before the case is disposed of by the Supreme Court. They said it was time for the Goa government to protect the Mahadayi river. The greens appealed to the Goa CM to meet the PM immediately to prevail upon him not to give nod to the project.

The Goa unit of the Aam Aadmi Party has said it was committed to protecting Mahadayi river and would fight to stop its diversion. The party blamed the Goa government for failing to protect the interest of Goans and said the government should take up the legal battle to save Mahadayi in the court seriously.

In its final award on August 14, 2018, the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal (MWDT) awarded 13.42 tmcft of water to Karnataka under the Mahadayi project. The tribunal allowed Karnataka to share 5.5 tmcft of water from Mahadayi river for drinking purpose and another 8.02 per cent of water for hydro electricity generation.

However, Karnataka was involved in a long-stretched battle with neighbouring Goa for its share of 36.55 tmcft of water under Mahadayi project, including 7.56 tmcft for drinking water purposes. According to sources, of the 5.5 tmcft of water allotted for drinking to Karnataka, 3.80 tmcft will be diverted to Malaprabha basin through the Kalasa Nala (1.18 tmcft) and Banduri Nala (2.72 tmc) while 1.50 tmcft is allotted for in-basin consumption in Khanapur region.

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The New Indian Express