Mhadei dispute: K'taka celebrating too early, says Goa BJP


Panaji, Feb 21 (IANS): Karnataka may be celebrating too early following the Supreme Court's nod on Thursday to notification of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal award, Goa BJP spokesperson Narendra Sawaikar said on Friday.

Addressing a press conference here, Sawaikar also said that the BJP-led coalition government in Goa is committed to ensure that Karnataka is not allowed to divert water from the inter-state river.

"Notification is a part of the procedure and that is why it has come up. Just because the notification has been allowed and Karnataka and some opposition leaders (in Goa) have been jumping with joy, it does not mean that Karnataka has won," Sawaikar told mediapersons at the party's state headquarters here.

"Till the SC does not deliver its judgement on the matter, we don't believe the Mhadei matter has been resolved. Our say in the matter of the award is pending. Our contempt petition is also pending," Sawaikar said.

On Thursday, the apex court allowed notification of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal award given in 2018 on a request made by the Karnataka government.

Karnataka has claimed that the apex court's nod for notification of the award is a major victory towards its efforts to divert water from the Mhadei river through the Kalasa-Banduri dam project.

The Goa government, as well as the state BJP, insists that the nod is technical in nature and the state's appeal against the provisions of the Tribunals' award has also been admitted in the apex court and is expected to come up for hearing in July this year.

"Notification of the award does not mean Karnataka has been permitted to divert water. Our appeal has also been admitted," Sawaikar said.

Goa has opposed Karnataka's controversial Kalasa-Banduri project along the Mhadei river, claiming diversion of water from the Mhadei basin through the canal would cause "ecological devastation" in the coastal state, where nearly half the population of 1.5 million depend on Mhadei river water.

The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea near Panaji in Goa after briefly flowing through Maharashtra.

An inter-state water disputes tribunal, set up by the Central government after hearing the over two-decade-old Mhadei river water sharing dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, in August 2018 allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka and 1.33 TMC to Maharashtra.

Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra governments have challenged several provisions of the award.

  

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