The government has issued a notification extending the term of Mahadayi tribunal for a year. This could prolong the dispute between Karnataka and Goa over river water sharing.
- An extension of term is provided in the normal course if the tribunal’s work is not completed within the stipulated period. Under proviso to Section 5 (2) of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, the power is vested in the government which appointed the tribunal to extend its tenure.
About the dispute:A water disputes tribunal set up under the Act is originally meant to complete its assigned work in three years. If the work is not completed, the government can extend its tenure by a year and further by a second year. The tribunal is yet to examine few witnesses. Its current tenure expires on August 20.
The Karnataka government and Goa government are fighting on sharing of waters of the Mahadayi river (called Mandovi in Goa).
- Mahadayi, also known as the Mandovi river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of Karnataka. The river originates and flows for 28 kilometer in Karnataka and goes through Maharashtra and Goa before meeting the Arabian Sea.
- In order to divert 7.56 tmcft of water to the Malaprabha river basin, Karnataka government proposed to build canals to link Kalasa and Banduri, the tributaries of Mahadayi. However, objecting the move, Goa government argued that if Karnataka implemented the Kalasa-Banduri project, it would prove disastrous for the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats as the proposed project was deep inside the forest.
- Karnataka had petitioned the tribunal seeking release of 7.56 tmcft of water for Kalasa-Banduri Nala project. The tribunal, which gave its interim order after hearing arguments from both Karnataka and Goa, had rejected the state’s plea citing various grounds including ecological damage that the project may cause.
The Kalasa-Banduri Nala is a project undertaken by the Government of Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the Districts of Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag.