PANAJI: Karnataka’s plan to divert the water of the Mhadei river by constructing two dams will come unstuck in the absence of forest and wildlife clearances, Goa minister Subhash Shirodkar said on Sunday.
The two states are engaged in a dispute over the sharing of the river’s water, and Goa has often accused Karnataka of trying to move ahead with projects unilaterally by ignoring mutual pacts.
“The clearance given to Karnataka by the Centre for detailed project report (for two dams) is just the beginning. It is the first step, and they (Karnataka) have to take 100 more steps. The issue (dispute) has been going on for 22 years. I am sure Karnataka’s plans to divert Mhadei water will come unstuck,” Shirodkar said.
Shirodkar said the Goa government has already issued a show cause notice to Karnataka under the Wildlife Protection Act as the diversion of water will affect Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located downstream.
“I am sure Karnataka will not be able to cross this hurdle. The project would be scrapped either due to the absence of wildlife or forest clearance. The Union Jal Shakti ministry will not allow the diversion of the river,” the state water resources department minister said.
He said the issue is before the Supreme Court, where all the three states party to the dispute, namely Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka, have objected to the award pronounced by the Inter-State Water Dispute Tribunal.
“The matter is sub judice, and I am confident Goa will win the case. Our lawyers are putting up a strong case. Finally, it will be the court’s verdict that will decide the fate of the river. Karnataka cannot bulldoze its way and go ahead with such projects,” Shirodkar said.
He said Goa is yet to get a certified hard copy of the detailed project report of Karnataka that has been provisionally passed by the Centre, and Goa’s statement in SC was on the basis of a digital copy (of the DPR).
The Union government can withdraw the DPR if they wish, Shirodkar added.