The 13–member Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal team, headed by the former Supreme Court judge J.M. Panchal, on Wednesday commenced its tour of Karnataka to inspect works taken up under the Kalasa–Banduri Nala diversion project.

He was accompanied by tribunal members Vinay Mittal and retired judge P.S. Narayan. Officials from Water Resources and Law departments and experts from Goa and Maharashtra are also accompanying the team.

The project envisage diversion of 7.56 tmcft of water to the Malaprabha dam by constructing dams across the Kalasa and the Banduri nalas and diversion canals to provide drinking water to towns and villages in Belgaum, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Gadag districts.

Minister for Water Resources M.B. Patil, Minister for Excise and district in charge Satish L. Jarkiholie and Minister for Sugar, Small Scale Industries Prakash B. Hukkeri accorded a traditional reception to the team members by placing ‘Mysore Peta’ on their heads at the Karnataka–Goa border near Chorla in Khanapur taluk.

The team inspected various sites under the project, including the Kalsa nala (Khanapur taluk), Sural nala (Goa), the Haltar river (Maharashtra–Karnataka border) and the ongoing canal work at Kankumbi.

Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, D. Satyamurthy, Secretary B.G. Gurupadswamy, Managing Director of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. R. rudraiah, Regional Commissioner Gangaram Baderia and Deputy Commissioner N. Jayaram were also present.

The team will visit the Banduri nala site near Nersa in Khanapur taluk on Thursday. It will visit the Supa dam and Ambika town, and the Navilteerth dam across the Malaprabha on December 21. The team will proceed to Bangalore the next day. Mr. Patil, during a chat with presspersons, said the State was doing its best to convince the Centre and tribunal members on the importance of the project to meet the drinking water requirements of people in four districts of north Karnataka. He said a detailed presentation would be made before the tribunal team in presence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bangalore.

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