Mahadayi award decision after studying report: Karnataka govt

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government yesterday said it would take an appropriate decision on the final award of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal only after studying the report in detail and consulting relevant authorities.

The Congress, the ruling coalition partner of Kumaraswamy’s JDS, said Karnataka had not been given “full justice”, while the opposition BJP welcomed the tribunal recommendations, saying it was a victory for farmers.

While Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was guarded in his response, his brother and PWD Minister H D Revanna, described the verdict as “shocking” and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to meet Karnataka’s demand of additional 7.54 tmcft water.

“The final award recommendation of the Tribunal is about 12 volumes and (government) will take appropriate decision only after studying it in detail and consulting with all concerned,” Kumaraswamy said in a statement here.

Kumaraswamy said he has already discussed the issue with officers of the Water Resources Department and legal experts. In its award, the Mahadayi River Water Tribunal today ruled that Karnataka will get 13.4 tmcft, while Goa and Maharashtra will be allowed to use 24 tmcft and 1.33 tmcft of water respectively.

In a 12-volume award, the tribunal said the equitable distribution of Mahadayi waters among three States is “neither necessary nor feasible” at this stage. Karnataka and Goa have for long locked horns on sharing of the Mahadayi river water. Karnataka had placed before the Tribunal a demand for 36.558 TMC of water from Mahadayi.

For the past several years, Karnataka has been demanding an additional 7.56 TMC of water, including 4 TMC for Kalasa and 3.56 TMC for Bhanduri.

The Tribunal in July 2016 had rejected Karnatakas demand, which had triggered protests across North Karnataka and become an important issue in the State Assembly polls.

The Kalasa-Banduri Nala project is being undertaken to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and districts of Belagavi and Gadag.

It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi River, to divert 7.56 tmc ft to Malaprabha, which meets drinking water needs of the region. Senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa welcomed the verdict. saying “it is a victory for farmers.”

However, former Water Resources Minister and state BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai said the tribunal has not given full justice to Karnataka because the State has got less than what it has been demanding. Therefore, there is a need for Karnataka to resort to protests against the verdict, he added.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundurao also said Karnataka has not been given full justice and the state would like to study the entire verdict before making further statements on the issue.