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Karnataka directed to build wall across controversial canal

Posted on Apr 17 2014 | IANS

Panaji, April 17 : Bringing relief to Goa, the Karnaraka government was Thursday told by a specially designated tribunal, to erect a brick wall to stop diversion of water from the Mhadei river basin to the Malaprabha river basin, until the water dispute between both states is resolved.

The decision could come as a temporary setback to Karnataka government's plans to divert water from the Mhadei river basin and come as relief for Goa, for whom the Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of the state.

The direction to build a brick wall was issued by Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) chairman J. M. Panchal who is hearing the dispute between Karnataka and Goa over the Mhadei water.

The order directs Karnataka authorities to build the "brick masonry" wall by May 31, before the advent of the monsoon and stop all work on the project.

The Karnataka government's controversial dam is being erected on the Mhadei river in the Kalsa area of the state's Belgaum district.

The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea at Panaji in Goa. While the river travels 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is 81.2 km long in Goa.

Karnataka plans to construct seven dams on the river, aimed at diverting the waters into its water-starved Malaprabha basin.

Both the Goa government and civil society groups in the state have said that diverting the waters of the river would sound a death knell to the northern areas of the state, which are dependent on the river for fishing, irrigation and potable water supply.

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