Mahadayi project: SC asks for inspection of worksite by panel

The Supreme Court of India has ordered the constitution of a committee to inspect the Mahadayi project worksite at Kanakumbi in Belagavi district following allegations of violations by Karnataka, said Ramesh Jarkiholi, Minister for Medium and Major Irrigation on Tuesday. The committee will have representatives from all riparian States.

While hearing the special leave petitions (SLPs) filed by the riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Goa on Monday, the Supreme Court also heard the contempt petition filed by Goa alleging that Karnataka had violated the apex court’s orders on not to start work on the project till the dispute was finally settled.

In a press release, Mr. Jarkiholi said the court had not issued a notice to Karnataka over this. “But it has asked the three States to form a committee with superintending engineers from the departments of irrigation from all the States to inspect the worksite, see if the allegations were true and submit a report,” he said.

Goa’s charge

Goa’s lawyers repeatedly argued that Karnataka had diverted water from the Mahadayi basin to other areas, in defiance of the court order. Karnataka’s lawyers, senior advocate Mohan Katarki and advocate general Prabhuling Navadgi and others, denied the allegations. They said that in order to divert water, a dam needs to be built downstream and an underground wall has to be removed. These were not done, and that the State government had not attempted to divert water. The court finally asked the States to set up a committee with its representatives, the Minister said.

The SLPs will be listed for final hearing in April, before which all party States shall file their written submissions in one compilation book.

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