Mahayadi project: Irrigation minister Karjol under fire over remarks | Bengaluru

Karnataka irrigation minister Govind Karjol on Tuesday said the state government was waiting for a “pre-feasibility report” from the Center before taking up the contentious Kalasa-Banduri drinking water project.

Activists and farmers groups in Belagavi, however, termed his comments as “misleading” and “irresponsible”.

Karjol on Tuesday said the government was waiting for the “pre-feasibility report” from the Center before taking up the Mahayadi project and “pre-feasibility report” was required to take up any such projects. “We (government) hope the Center will approve it at the earliest.”

He was responding to the media persons here participating in BJP’s Chintan Baithak programme.

“Recently, I and chief minister Basavaraj Bommai met Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union minister of Jal Shakti department at New Delhi and urged for the approval of ‘pre-feasibility report’. He has responded positively,” Karjol said.

The statements left farmer groups and others furious as pre-feasibility is a requirement in the initial stage and the project has come long away from that stage. It was just a “tactic to drag the issue”, they said.

The BJP had assured to resolve the Kalasa-Banduri project despite the objects raised by Goa. Union home minister Amit Shah, during the 2018 election campaign, said he would resolve the Mahadayi dispute within 5 minutes, if the party comes to power in Karnataka.

Activists and farm leaders said even after years, there has been no respite.

Ashok Chandaragi, a social activist, said the irrigation minister made his statements without proper knowledge on the issue.

“Hearing of the Mahadayi dispute held before the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal from 2010 to 2018. The tribunal awarded water allocation of 13.42 tmc feet to Karnataka on August 14, 2018. After the award, Goa approached the Supreme Court to stop the tribunal order from publishing into gazette. However, the SC asked to take up the project after getting environment and forest clearance from the Centre. However, even after three years now, the Center hasn’t given environment and forest clearance. May be minister Karjol trying to mislead the people to hide the Centre’s intention,” Chandaragi said.

Advocate Shankar Ambali, state president of Karnataka Raitha Sene, Dharwad, said: “What is the necessity of a ‘pre-feasibility report’ at this point of time after the Supreme Court order? There is an urgent need to prepare a revised DPR report. But this government has failed to prepare revised DPR in the past three years,” he said.

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