PANJIM: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of is not seeing beyond the approval of his Detailed Project Report (DPR) on Mhadei which includes building of canals to divert water to his State.
Bommai, who was in Belgaum on Monday, stated that the resolution passed by the Goa Assembly urging the Centre to withdraw the approval granted to Karnataka’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Kalasa-Bandura nulla project will have no impact and that the Karnataka will float tenders once it receives environmental clearances from the MoEF&CC, New Delhi.
Those in Goa who have researched, written and litigated to protect Mhadei are clear that Goa’s chance lies in calling out the faulty manner in which Karnataka’s DPR was cleared in violation of environmental cushions and protection that any sensitive issue as diverting water gets.
Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan (MBA) secretary and environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar said Bommai’s statement has no standing because the DPR has been approved by the Central Water Commission (CWC) without understanding the ground realities. When the proposed projects fall in the inter-State river basin and in the Wildlife Sanctuaries, how CWC granted approval has to be probed. It is a conspiracy and the Goa government should bring it to the notice of the CWC. Granting approval is a complete violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, which clearly states that water cannot be diverted from one basin to another basin.
Former Advocate General and Congress MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira said, “It is politics for optics. Karnataka Chief Minister is making statements because elections are around the corner. The entire Karnataka definitely will stand together and here in Goa we all stand together. The legality will be decided by Supreme Court?”
Former Union Minister for Law Ramakant Khalap said, “Factually, Karnataka is in the election mode and every statement is made to arouse feelings of local electorate. It is one-upmanship. It is a poll plank to win over the electorate.”
Environmentalist Ramesh Gawas said, “It is not easy to get Environmental Clearances. Karnataka also needs Forest Clearance under Wildlife Protection Act. But with elections nearing, there is every possibility that the Centre will grant them both EC and FC. They want BJP to win in the Karnataka Assembly polls to strengthen their hold. So for that, they will give them Mhadei water.”
Water Resources Minister Subhash Shirodkar said, “I don't want to rebut any statements made by Karnataka Chief Minister or of anyone for that matter on Mhadei river issue. We will make our stand clear at the appropriate forum.”
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, “Let anyone say anything. We are firm on our decision, whatever needs to be done legally, technically and politically we are doing it and will continue doing it. We will win the Mhadei battle.”
Senior advocate Bhavanishankar Gadnis claimed that Karnataka cannot go ahead with construction work since it has given undertaking to the Supreme Court,
“Karnataka cannot even lay one stone in Mhadei river basin unless the Apex Court’s judgement of 2017 is modified. Considering this, Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan shall file a caveat in Supreme Court so that no order is passed without hearing us (MBA),” Gadnis added.
Former MLA Radharao Gracias said, “I regret that Mhadei water will be diverted. If diverted, it will affect all of us.”