The Mhadei water diversion continues to generate much heat, even as the State cabinet on Monday deliberated on a strategy to fight Karnataka over the issue. Several decisions were taken in the cabinet meeting.
THE FIGHT WILL GO ON
The cabinet resolved to continue fighting the battle in the Supreme Court against the diversion of river Mhadei. 3.9 TMC of water has been awarded by the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal to Karnataka.
The award has been challenged by Goa, Karnataka as well as Maharashtra for various state-specific reasons. Supreme Court has posted the matter for next hearing on Jan 5.
REVOCATION OF DPR
The Goa government will demand revocation of the Central Water Commission’s approval for Karnataka’s DPR at the earliest.
Also, notices will be served on Karnataka pointing out that water from the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary cannot be diverted as per provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act.
WATER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
The Centre will be asked to formulate the WMA committee within the next 8 to 10 days. Goa goverment will meet Prime Minister, Home Minister and Union Jal Shakti Ministry in this regard.
The WMA will comprise representatives from each of the three riparian states i.e. Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka and three Central government representatives. Correspondence in this regard has been going on with the Centre for the past 6 months, informed CM Sawant.
He said once WMA is formed, all DPRs also will have to be routed through the authority, which will keep a check on any illegalities.
Pramod Sawant, Goa Chief Minister
CM Sawant opined that the formation of WMA will help in keeping control over the destruction being carried out by Karnataka for the past 20 to 25 years.
“They do not even permit us to carry out inspection,” said CM. Once WMA is constituted, such inspections and checks will have to be permitted, he opined.
“No diversion work is going on for now. Karnataka has done only survey work in the last two-and-half years in the area,” CM claimed.
The State will a demand copy of the DPR submitted by Karnataka that has been approved by Central Water Commission.
DELEGATION TO PM
A Legislative party delegation will meet Prime Minister, Home Minister and Union Jal Shakti Minister in Delhi urging them to prevent the diversion of Mhadei.
Goa govt has decided on the strategy to oppose the diversion legally and technically. The Mhadei team comprising legal and technical experts is constantly following up the issue, added CM.
Devidas Pangam, Advocate General of Goa
ADVOCATE GENERAL SPEAKS
Advocate General of Goa, Devidas Pangam, said, “Our view is that no water from Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary can be diverted at all in law. No authority can permit it, including the Centre. We will raise the point seriously and will not permit it to happen,” he said.
The approval for DPR submitted by Karnataka is just technical clearance from the point of view of water management by the Central Water Commission(CWC). Several other permissions including that from Chief Wildlife Warden are required.
Incidentally, Chief Wildlife Warden cannot grant such permission in case of Mhadei water as it will amount to the diversion of water for purposes other than the wildlife sanctuary, said the AG. “That is a strong point in favour of Goa,” he added.