PANAJI: Environmentalist and Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan (MBA) secretary Rajendra Kerkar on Thursday said that the Supreme Court cannot take up the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the Goa government for hearing, unless the award of the Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal is notified.
Speaking to GT, Kerkar said, “The Tribunal has given its award on August 14, 2018 which needs to be notified by the Central Government. Unless and until the award is notified, the SC will not take up the SLP filed by Goa Government on July 18, 2019.” Speaking further, he said, “The SLP which was filed by Goa Government will be heard by SC on July 15, 16 and 22, 2020. In order to give a hearing to the SLP and other petitions filed by Goa Government, there is a need to notify the award given by the Tribunal.”
When asked if Goa has lost the battle as far as Mhadei is concerned, Kerkar said, “SC has agreed to take the hearing in July. So how can one say that Goa has lost the battle.” “Goa government has to take these issues very sincerely and thorough study is required to be made in whatever arguments are put forward.
Unless thorough study is done and what ever objections taken by Goa government fails to provide substantial evidence then it will lose the battle. Goa Government will have to provide substantial evidence to the objections they have raised or else they will lose the battle,” Kerkar said.
He said in the SLP filed before the SC, Goa Government has taken objection to the Tribunal’s gross over estimation done as far as the calculation of Mhadei water is concerned. “Nearly 188.06 TMC feet of water is available and Karnataka has been allowed to divert 3.90 TMC feet of water outside the basin,” he said.
He also informed that Goa has taken objection to the fact that no environmental need has been considered by the Tribunal. “The minimum environmental requirement as per the study conducted by Goa Government is 28 TMC feet and preferably 50 TMC feet. In this matter, the Tribunal has not allocated any water. Goa Government has also said that Western Ghats is the ecological hotspot of India and it is also critically ecologically sensitive area which is rich in biodiversity in addition to being a finest tiger habitat. These facts have been mentioned by Goa Government,” said Kerkar.