Why in news?
- As the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project in the Mahadayi basin drags on over the inter-State river water dispute, the cost over the last 20 years has risen steeply from about 94 crore rupees in 2000 to 1,677.30 crore rupees in 2020. Conceived to supply drinking water to areas in the Bombay Karnataka region — the estimated cost, in 2000, of Kalasa Nala was ₹44.78 crore, while that of Banduri Nala was ₹49.2 crore ~ 94 crores together.
- Only a section of the project is nearing completion, with work on both reservoirs yet to be taken up owing to forest clearance.
- The Karnataka State government on August 22, 2000 gave its administrative approval to the project which involves building across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert 7.56 TMC of water to the Malaprabha river, which supplies the drinking water needs of the said 3 districts, i.e., Dharwad, Belagavi and Gadag.
- The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to notify the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal’s award, the State is now looking to seek its notification, and forest approvals.
- Since it is a drinking water project, the Environment Impact Assessment requirement has been waived.
- According to government sources, the application to release 258 hectares of reserve forest area for the Kalasa project that falls under the reservoir’s catchment area is pending before the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
- Similarly, an application to release 242.51 hectares of forest area for the Banduri project is also pending before the MoEF. “We expect approvals for these applications after the notification,” sources said.
- Sources said that the reservoir and the canal under the Banduri section are yet to be taken up as most of the project area comes under forests, and the State is yet to get sanction from the Central
- Water Commission and MoEF.
- Government sources also pointed out that in the Kalasa project, the 5.15 km-canal has almost been completed after a long delay owing to challenging conditions that involved loose soil and work taken up for only four months in a year.
- Since the reservoir catchment falls in forests, work is yet to be taken up, sources said. So far, 244.89 crore rupees has been spent on the Kalasa canal.