Local Goa News

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mhadei fight: Greens say ecology taking a back seat

PANAJI: Even as the Mhadei water dispute between Goa and Karnataka seems poised for bipartite talks, the environmental issue of ecological destruction in the global biodiversity hotspot may have slipped into obscurity

Environmentalists are irked at the lack of seriousness of the law-enforcement authorities in controlling the massive destruction happening at the region after Karnataka started work on the Kalasa diversion canal on October 2, 2006.
"If at all there was to be an amicable solution to the row, it should have started before the environmental destruction. But people don't realize the loss to flora and fauna in the region," said president of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan (MBA) Nirmala Sawant. While environmentalists have alleged massive destruction in the Kankumbi region due to Karnataka's Kalasa canal project, no damage assessment has been carried out in the area just across Goa's border.
"Goa government cannot do it, as its officials will not be allowed (at the site)," said additional solicitor general and then advocate general A N S Nadkarni, who is appearing for the state in the case.
The Karnataka forest department had registered a first information report (FIR) in the case, but nothing much is known about any progress on it, said sources..
Nadkarni added that two successive Congress governments in the state have maintained a passive stance to the destruction in Kankumbi though it abuts the limits of the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary. "Since 2005, the Congress-led governments have not done anything to complain about the destruction," Nadkarni added.
Karnataka, during the hearings before the Mhadei water dispute tribunal, had asserted that earlier governments had allowed the Kalasa tributary project. But presenting his arguments before the tribunal, Nadkarni had countered saying, "It is not open to one individual (either chief minister or water resources minister) to decide on the fate of the citizens of an entire state."
An environmentalist, speaking on condition of anonymity, added, "The hydrological and ecological damage caused by the project is irreparable. As per Central government laws, any non-forest work likely to utilize land in reserve forest area requires prior approval of the MoEF and from the National Board of Wild Life, but, till date, none have been taken while the work continues."

TOI Goa News

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