Goa minister for solid waste management, Michael Lobo on Friday said that the Centre gave a nod to Karnataka for the Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project for "political reasons".
Lobo made the remark just days after Union Environment Ministry headed by Prakash Javedkar sent a letter to the Karnataka stating, "The scheme doesn't envisage creating new command area or providing water to suffering existing command areas for irrigation. Also the project doesn't involve hydroelectric power generation [and] is purely a drinking water supply scheme and does not attract the provisions of the EIA notification 2006 and its subsequent amendments."
The project involves constructing an Rs 800 crore diversion project on the Mahadayi River to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
He further stated "one should not get distracted by such a letter, which could be issued to assuage the political situation in Karnataka" and added that there could be fresh election in the state.
"The letter to the Karnataka government does not specify environmental clearance to the Kalsa-Bhandura project. Time and again such letters have been issued...Sometimes this type of letters are also given for political reasons," he said while addressing a press conference here.
"Everyone should understand that by-polls are scheduled in that state. There could also be fresh elections in the state. Political situation is not very good over there. But we should not get distracted by any letters issued to them."
On a closer look, opposition political quarters in the coastal state have criticised the Central government's move.
Congress Party has condemned the government's decision to accord environmental clearance to the 'illegal' Kalasa-Banduri Nala project of diverting Mahadayi water to Malprabha by constructing a canal through the thick forest.
Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra have conflicting interests on the issue of sharing Mahadayi river water. While the river originates in Karnataka, a major part of it flows in Goa and briefly in Maharashtra.
The Karnataka government has sought the release of 7.56 TMC feet water from Mahadayi river for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.
The Kalasa-Banduri Nala diversion project is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply in Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)