Goa’s new block to Kalasa Banduri project: PRAWAH to probe Mahadayi River basin

The activists from Karnataka are opposing the PRAWAH’s inspection, with the Karnataka government yet to respond on the matter.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 05, 2024 | 4:08 PM Updated Jul 05, 2024 | 4:08 PM

Mahadayi kalasa banduri

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant kicked off yet another storm by announcing that the Progressive River Authority for Welfare and Harmony (PRAWAH) will inspect the Mahadayi River basin from 7 July.

The move comes as another attempt to halt Karnataka’s ambitious and long-pending demand for the implementation of the Mahadayi- Kalasa Banduri Mala project.

Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa are the stakeholders of the Mahadayi River on which the project is set to be built.

The Goa chief minister, on whose request, the inspection is set to take place, wrote on X, “The inspection is crucial for Goa as it will uncover the truth before the PRAWAH members. This is an outcome of our continuous efforts to protect Mahaei (in Goa), which will strengthen our case and vindicate our stand.”

However, the activists from Karnataka are opposing the PRAWAH’s inspection, with the Karnataka government yet to respond on the matter.

Meanwhile, irrigation activist Ashok Chandaragi questioned the legality of the inspection from PRAWAH when the Supreme Court had already given clearance for the project on 20 February, 2020.

“The Karnataka government must make necessary preparations to counter the stunts of the Goa government to derail the project,” urged Chandaragi.

It may be noted that the Union government has already cleared the DPR (Detailed Project Report) submitted by the then Karnataka government in 2022. The latter is waiting for the forest and environment clearance from the centre to kick-start the project.

Mahadayi Water Tribunal

Goa moved the Supreme Court seeking the setting up of a tribunal to settle the dispute. After the court ruled in Goa’s favour, the Union government constituted the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal under the chairmanship of Justice JM Panchal in 2010.

The other members of the tribunal were Justice Viney Mittal, who was a former judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, and Justice P S Narayana, a former judge of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.

Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal awarded 13.42 TMC of water to Karnataka, 24 TMC to Goa and 1.33 TMC to Maharashtra on 4 August, 2018.

Of the allocated water, 8 TMC have to be utilised for power generation and 3.9 TMC for the drinking water needs of 14 talukas in the Kittur region of Karnataka.

The project will benefit 13 talukas in Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag and Bagalkot districts of North Karnataka.

The tribunal issued a gazette notification regarding this matter in November 2020.

Related: Here’s all about the Kalasa-Banduri plan

The tale of Kalasa-Banduri Nala

The Mahadayi River originates at Kankumbi in Belagavi. It flows over 111 kilometres through parts of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Kalasa and Banduri are the two tributaries of Mahadayi.

The Mahadayi waters have been the bone of contention between Karnataka and Goa for the past four decades. The Karnataka government had planned to develop dams and canals on the Kalasa and Banduri Nala by diverting the Mahadayi to the Malaprabha River.

The project was first proposed to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly by the then-Guledagudda MLA BM Horakeri in 1976. The project was proposed to address the severe drought and famine in the Malaprabha River basin. However, successive governments did not pursue the plan.

(Edited by Sumavarsha Kandula with inputs from Mahesh M Goudar)

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