Panaji, July 19 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into what he said was “massive destruction” of the Western Ghats by neighbouring Karnataka, especially in and around the Mhadei river basin.
“The Chief Minster has drawn the Prime Minister’s attention to the ongoing massive destruction of the Western Ghats by Karnataka and massive violations of the Environment Protection Act and the Wildlife Protection Act,” a Goa Information and Publicity Department statement said on Tuesday.
Goa has an ongoing dispute with Karnataka in a central tribunal over the proposed diversion of the Mhadei river for the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project.
Mhadei or Mandovi river is a lifeline for northern parts of Goa. It originates in Karnataka and merges into the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa. While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it meanders for 81.2 km in Goa.
Karnataka plans to construct seven dams on the river, aimed at diverting its waters into the parched Malaprabha basin in north Karnataka.
Both the government and civil society groups in Goa say this will sound a deathknell for northern areas of Goa, dependent on the river for fishing, irrigation and potable water supply.
The latest flashpoint has been over the move to appoint Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni as Goa’s counsel at the Central Water Disputes Tribunal. The Karnataka government has objected to Nadkarni’s appointment.
“In the letter to the Prime Minister, it has been pointed out that the permission granted to Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni to represent Goa is in larger public and national interest and the outbursts of the disgraced and disgruntled elements ought to be simply ignored in the ongoing Mhadei interstate river water dispute pending adjudication before the tribunal,” the official statement said.
Parsekar also urgd Modi to direct the Ministry of Environment and Forests to ensure declaration of at least 10 km eco-sensitive zone in and around Mhadei wildlife sanctuary on Karnataka’s side, including in Bhimgad Sanctuary, where the Mhadei river originates.