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Goa Congress protests against Kalasa-Banduri water project approval

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee members protesting against the MoEF's recent green nod to the Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee members protesting against the MoEF's recent green nod to the Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday.  

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The protesting leaders handed over a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to intervene in the matter and stop the project.

The Goa Congress on Sunday staged a protest in the national capital against the Centre’s environmental nod to the Kalasa-Banduri drinking water project in Karnataka. The protesting leaders also handed over a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to intervene in the matter and stop the project, which will divert the waters from the Mahadayi river in Goa to Karnataka.

The Goa Pradesh Congress was led by its chief Girish Chodankar and joined by State and AICC leaders, including former state Chief Ministers Luizinho Faleiro, Francisco Sardinha and Digambar Kamat.

They alleged that the BJP government at the Centre has done it deliberately to “extract political benefit” for the just concluded Karnataka bye-elections.

“It is shocking to know that the Ministry of Environment, Forest (MOEF), Government of India has issued a clearance for the Kalasa-Banduri project of Karnataka for diversion of water from the Mahadayi river when the dispute is pending before the Supreme Court and the Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal,” the Goa Congress said in a memorandum.

It said the Ministry of Environment has granted the environment clearance for an “ecologically destructive project” by the Karnataka government costing ₹841 crores without consulting Goa.

The decision will completely destroy the ecology of Goa, the party said.

“The arbitrary decision of the Environment Department under the instructions of the Minister for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar to give clearance to Karnataka’s Kalasa—Banduri Project is a disaster,” it said.

In the past, Goa was stopped from constructing the Mandovi irrigation project, a much smaller project than the Kalasa-Banduri, within its own basin area “on very flimsy environmental grounds”, but a special treatment is being given to Karnataka, the party alleged.

“We reiterate our demand that to safeguard the water security of present and future generations and to ensure that not a drop of water from ecologically fragile Mahadayi river basin must be diverted. The Kalasa-Banduri Project must not be permitted,” it said.

The party demanded that the environmental clearance to the project be revoked immediately and the Karnataka government be directed to undertake a systematic management of the entire Malprabha river catchment area .

There is absolutely no need for diversion of flow of the Mahadayi river into this reservoir, the memorandum said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:30:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/goa-congress-protests-against-kalasa-banduri-water-project-approval/article30314411.ece

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