UNION MINISTER URGED TO STOP MADEI WATER DIVERSION

PANJIM: The state Environment Minister, Mr Aleixo Sequeira has urged the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Mr Jairam Ramesh, to direct the Karnataka government to forthwith stop the work on diversion of water from Madei basin.
Mr Sequeira has also requested Mr Ramesh to issue orders under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Wildlife Act, 1972 to stop work, as it was being carried out without prior permission and approval of MoEF and to order halt to the works till such time the Western Ghat Ecology Expert Panel report was finalised.
The state Environment Minister has brought to the notice of the Union Minister by a letter faxed to him that the area proposed for constructing Kalasa-Bhandura dams was located in Karnataka’s Reserve forests and the construction was proceeding without clearance of the MoEF.
Reminding Mr Ramesh of his recent meeting on the issue, he has also stated that Karnataka was undertaking the work for the canal excavation and construction, which was presently going on a rapid pace.
He has also stated that though the Supreme Court at the request of the Goa government constituted a Water Dispute Tribunal, yet the work was proceeding.
He has also pointed out that the lifeline of the state of Goa, the river Mandovi was under scourge of damming and diverting project of Karnataka state, as the work of connecting the Kalasa tributary to the Malaprabha Water Basin was going on war footing at Kankumbi, by constructing a canal barely within 2.82 km. from the Madei Wildlife Sanctuary.
He has also informed that 43 per cent of Goa’s geographical area lied in the Mandovi river basin and any diversion of this water source would cause grave threat to the ecology, environment and wildlife of the Madei Wildlife Sanctuary which was exactly 291.4 metres from the proposed Kalasa dam site.
Sequeira has also brought to the notice of the Union Minister that the projected annual requirement of water of Goa by the year 2051 would be 2, 674 metric cumecs, whereas the water resource actually available in the Mandovi was only 1531 metric cumecs and thus the Mandovi was a water deficient basin.
He has also stated that Karnataka’s plans were bound to disturb the intricate and complex river eco-system. The Madei region had been recognized as the habitat for the endangered tiger (level 1, Tiger Conservation Unit by WWF International) and also identified as an important bird area by the Bird Life International Cambridge.
The state Environment Minister has further stated that the region of the Western Ghats was biodiversity hotspot with the existence of several rare and endangered species, which were not found anywhere else in the Universe. He has also pointed out that as recently as one year back two caecilian species had been found.

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