Panaji: Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday has written a letter to Karnataka government stating that it can start the work on Kalasa-Bhandura nala project after gazette notification of the Tribunal and necessary forest and wildlife permissions.
He also written that Centre has not kept in abeyance Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2006 not has it kept in abeyance the rule which clarifies that drinking water projects do not require Environmental Clearance.
The wordings of his letter has stirred a hornet's nest in Goa as it comes close on the heels of the previous letter written by Deputy Director MoEFCC to the Chief Engineer of the Kalsa-Bhandura drinking water project dated December 18, in which it was categorically stated that the environment nod given by the ministry to this project was to be kept in abeyance till all connected legal disputes were resolved.
In his clarification letter to Karnataka Home and Cooperation Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Javadekar has stated, "I am in receipt of your letter dated December 19 regarding Mhadei water dispute - seeking clarification on Ministry's letter December 18, 2019."
"Let me make the position clear. Government of India has not kept in abeyance EIA notification 2006 and has also not kept in abeyance the rule which clarifies that drinking water projects do not require EC," stated the letter.
"Karnataka can start the work on Kalasa-Bhandura nala project after gazette notification of the Tribunal and necessary forest and wildlife permissions," stated Javadekar in the letter.
Reacting to the letter, Environmentalist and Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan (MBA) Secretary Rajendra Kerkar said the Union Ministry is playing gamble with the Mhadei issue with reference to Goa.
“On December 18, the letter given by the MoEFCC on October 17 was kept in abeyance and on December 24 giving clarification again and saying that environment impact assessment notification of 2006 and rule which clarifies that drinking water projects do not require environment clearance is indeed misleading and undemocratic. Without understanding ground realities the minister of MoEFCC endorsing Karnataka's Kalasa - Bhandura as the drinking water project is unjustified."
Who has lied to us Goemkars? Is it Prakash Javadekar or you Chief Minister Pramod Sawant? What was kept in abeyance? This is an unequivocal clearance to Karnataka for the Kalasa project. What's going on behind our backs?
--- Vijai Sardesai, President, Goa Forward Party
It's another betrayal of people of Goa by Minister Javadekar, BJP and NDA who chose the eve of Chiristmas to give a special gift to Goa. The Congress party expects a point to point rebuttal by the CM Goa on this letter by Javadekar and demands an explanation why Javadekar responded to a Karnataka minister and dismissed the Goa CM.
Pramod Sawant is simply continuing the script started by Manohar Parrikar by writing letter to BJP President B S Yeddyurappa.
It is a real insult for the people of Goa who feel betrayed once again. It is clear that CM has sold Goa to Karnataka by surrendering himself to the dictate of BJP central leadership. Congress party would lead a delegation to governor Goa and discuss the implications of this betrayal.
--- Girish Chodankar, President, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee