"Almost 45 percent of the overall work on the canal in non-forest area has been completed whereas the structure to actually divert the water has not been built yet. The diversion will have to be done through the forest areas," Water Resources Minister Dayanand Mandrekar told the Legislative Assembly.
He was responding to the calling attention motion raised by Independent MLA Vijay Sardesai who claimed that "diversion of Mhadei river basin is just a matter of time".
Mhadei river is the lifeline of Goa. Karnataka's interest in the basin has been to seek extra basin diversions from Mhadei river to augment its storages in adjacent Kali river basin and Malaprabha river basin, Mandrekar said.
Karnataka had started the diversion of water from Kalsa river on October 2, 2006.
The Union Ministry of Water Resources notified the Mhadei Water Dispute Act 1956 and referred the matter to the tribunal after the Goa government approached the Supreme Court.
In its restraint petition with the Tribunal, Goa government cited instances like unavailability of staff, lack of furbished premises and accommodation to the chairman of the tribunal as well as its members.
Goa government had filed a special leave petition before the apex court on the matter which will come up for hearing on August 13, Mandrekar said.
Mhadei river has a length of 77 km, 29 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa. It originates from a cluster of 30 springs at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belgaum district of Karnataka.