Parties to Mahadayi dispute bracing for another bout

By M Chenna Nagaraj

Aug 21, 2018

New Delhi:The highly emotive Mahadayi river water dispute involving Karnataka and Goa States shows no sign of abating as both sides are bracing up for another bout after the final order of the Mahadayi tribunal on August 14.

This time the battle is for entirely different reasons. While Karnataka is determined to prefer an appeal seeking increases in quantum of allocation by the tribunal, Goa will question the actions of Karnataka in going ahead with diversion activities pending tribunal’s final order.

Karnataka is apparently happy that the Tribunal allocated 13.42 TMCFT of Mahadayi waters including a consumptive use of 5.4 TMCFT of its share by diverting it to Malaprabha reservoir. However, it is dissatisfied with the allocation of 13.42 TMCFT of water to Karnataka as against the availability of 188.06 TMCFT of water in the basin.

The total allocation to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa works out to around 36 TMCFT. Will the rest will flow in to Arabian Sea? That is the question in the mind of the parties concerned.

Goa may have got lion’s share of 20 TMCFT in the final order but they can’t have any projects in its territory beyond its entitlement since there will be a monitoring body to ensure compliance of the tribunal order, Karnataka sources said.

Availability of water as accepted by the tribunal is good enough to take care of the demands of all three riparian states. “Everyone can be happy with increased allocations including with regard to environmental concerns”, they maintained. Maharashtra is a minor party in the dispute and has been given 1.33 TMCFT.

Karnataka’s legal team members are not opening up on the advice tendered to the political bosses for making up their minds on the issue .

The final order of the tribunal is of 2800 pages in 12 volumes. The state has three months to file its objections or to seek clarifications from the tribunal itself.

However, it would be too much to expect the tribunal to amend its final allocations drastically, sources said.

The political bosses in Goa are seemingly happy to get biggest share in the Mahadayi pie.

Meanwhile, their legal team filed a ‘disobedience petition before the Mahadayi disputes tribunal seeking the arrest of officers and attachment of their properties, news reports said quoting Goa’s advocate general in Panaji.

The petition maintained that the diversion granted to Karnataka in the August 14 order was not absolute as the actions of the state violated the injunction order against the diversion of water under dispute.

Sources in Karnataka said that they were unaware of Goa’s petition before the tribunal. There was no violation of tribunal’s order by Karnataka. The diversion canal was sealed in 2014 itself following lower riparian state’s objections. The tribunal is fully aware of all developments. “We will submit our reply for any notice we receive from the tribunal”, sources privy to the decision makers mind said.

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