‘State should reconsider its proposal and file a review petition’
The directions of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) to Karnataka while disposing of an interlocutory application filed by the Goa government, has not gone down well with those fighting for the implementation of the Kalasa Banduri Nala Project.
The MWDT, comprising chairman J.M. Panchal and members Viney Mittal and P.S. Narayana, disposed of the IA on April 17 and directed the Karnataka government to construct a brick masonry embankment in both the vents constructed for diversion of water from the Mahadayi (known as Mandovi in Goa) basin to the Malaprabha basin, to check the flow of water, particularly floodwater, in the inter-connecting canal, by May 31, 2014.
The tribunal also directed Karnataka to fill up the excavation done along the ridge line (which separates the Mahadayi and the Malaprabha basins) for constructing the canal and also complete the work on cross drainage for the existing roads and the State highway to avoid likely flooding , by May 31.
The tribunal also issued directions for constituting a team of officials from the governments of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra to oversee and report on the works undertaken by Karnataka as per its directive.
The tribunal’s directions, however, are being seen as a setback to Karnataka by those fighting for implementing the Kalasa Banduri Nala Project, aimed at bringing water to the region.
Some of them have even attributed it to the “failure” of the legal team to present Karnataka’s case properly before the tribunal.State’s proposal
The tribunal’s directions have, however, been issued based on the proposal submitted by counsels of Karnataka, which was subsequently agreed upon by counsels of Goa and Maharashtra.
Political leaders, including BJP State unit president Pralhad Joshi, Navalgund MLA and Janata Dal (S) leader N.H. Konaraddi, and activists such as Vikas Soppin and Vijay Kulkarni of the Kalasa Banduri Nala Horata Samiti, have taken exception to the stand taken by the State government on the issue.
Mr. Joshi said that if the State government had submitted a proposal in this regard, then this “wrong decision” needs to be relooked. “The State government should reconsider its proposal and file a review petition,” he said.
Mr. Joshi said that building brick embankment was not a practical proposition as there was loose soil in the area and the embankment would be washed away.
Mr. Soppin and Mr. Kulkarni questioned the earlier statement of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that the State would be able to complete works in non-forest area for diverting 1.5 tmcft of water to the Malaprabha basin by June-end.
Condemning the tribunal’s direction, Mr. Konaraddi demanded that a meeting of leaders of all political parties and activists be convened immediately and steps be taken to ensure that the legal and technical teams representing Karnataka before the tribunal were more prepared before making their submissions.
Keywords: Mahadayi tribunal