In the Mhadei altercation with Karnataka, Goa has moved the Supreme Court and has filed an Interlocutory Application which seeks stay on CWC approval to project
The state government has filed an interlocutory application (IA) before the Supreme Court on the controversial Mhadei project. The interlocutory application has petitioned to grant stay on the approval granted by the Central Water Commission (CWC) to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted by Karnataka for the diversion of the Mhadei River through the Kalasa-Banduri project.
The IA has prayed that directions be issued to Karnataka not to carry out any construction activities based on the DPR to the project. The application has requested for granting of stay on any construction that may be intended to be carried out by Karnataka.
It is expected that the state government will request the Supreme Court to list the matter for hearing as soon as possible, given its urgency.
Advocate General Devidas Pangam has informed that the major ground on which Goa would challenge the approval is that under Section 29 of the Wildlife Protection Act, there is complete ban on diversion of water in the wildlife sanctuary for any purpose other than wildlife.
Further, he said the Mahadayi (Mhadei) Water Disputes Tribunal has itself directed that all the permissions, including the one from Chief Wildlife Warden, are required before carrying out any work in the Mhadei basin.
Adv. Pangam also stated that these are very strong grounds in Goa’s favour, and notwithstanding the grant of any permission from the Centre, diversion of water cannot be carried out from the Mhadei basin more specifically in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.
The state government will approach all central agencies, including the CWC, and bring to their notice that the Mhadei water diversion is not possible in law, Adv. Pangam informed.
The Chief Wildlife Warden has already issued a show-cause notice and stop work order to the Karnataka government for carrying out any work in the Mhadei basin.
It is important to note that a Goa government delegation led by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant met Union Home Minister, Amit Shah and Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat urging them to withdraw the DPR approval. The delegation also demanded constitution of water management authority as per the award passed by the Mahadayi Interstate Water Disputes.
Environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar warns Goa on the effects of diversion
Environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar has warned Goans, stating that they need to stay alert as Karnataka is planning to divert all tributaries of Mhadei flowing into Goa.
Kerkar stated that Goa needs the Mhadei Forest Tiger Reserve and other forests, hills, and rivers which are vital for existence of man and nature.
“Goans, including all our MLAs need to stay alert and understand the importance of the River Mhadei for the existence of Goa. Karnataka has plans to divert all tributaries of Mhadei flowing into Goa, including the Dudhsagar Khandepar River on which the Opa water treatment plant is
He has further said that a more detailed discussion is needed in Goa Assembly to understand the seriousness of the diversion.
Kerkar explained that due to the diversion, the sweet water ratio will reduce which will lead to an increase in the salinity of the river. This would further affect agriculture, fishing, the flora and fauna of Goa. Kerkar also warned that future generations will suffer as there will be a deficit in the availability of sweet water. He said besides presenting scientific studies in the Supreme Court, Goa needs to declare Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve. Excluding settlement areas, the other areas should be part of the Tiger Reserve. He said since 1973, there has been effort to divert Dudhsagar River, which was foiled at that time by then CM Shashikala Kakodkar. “We cannot sacrifice our forests for survival. We need water and oxygen and therefore Goans need to protect wild life, forest and hills,” Kerkar concluded.