India: Kalasa-Bhanduri nallah Canal building is harming trees

“So many trees have already been bulldozed in Kankumbi where work on
the Kalasa-Bhanduri nallah canal is on. One can imagine how much more
the forest cover will be lost when the 2.5 km long canal is built, and
what its effect will be on the ecologically sensitive region,” Sawant
a former Congress minister told Deccan Herald. The Mhadei Bachao
Abhiyan (MBA) which has challenged the diversion of Mahadayi in the
Supreme Court on ecological grounds says Karnataka’s move would
destroy large tracts of forest cover in the Western Ghats and could
end up draining the river’s basin.

Over 28 km of the Mahadayi runs
through Karnataka, but 78 per cent of the river’s basin lies within
Goa. The 81.2 km long Mandovi is considered Goa’s lifeline.
Environmentalists worry that once Karnataka completes the Malaprabha
canal it will divert any amount of water it pleases, draining the
Mahadayi basin to Goa’s detriment. “What control will the Goa
government have? That is our apprehension,” says Sawant. The MBA which
is putting together “evidence” of Karnataka’s resumption of work at
Kankumbi is skeptical that a water disputes tribunal is the best way
out of the decade-long stand-off between the two states, though there
is political consensus here in favour of the tribunal. An all-party
delegation from Goa which met the Prime Minister on Wednesday lobbied
for the tribunal to be expeditiously set up. But the MBA says
Karnataka has dishonoured its oral assurances to the apex court, and
therefore it has little faith that the neighbouring state would stick
to any commitments made before a tribunal as well.

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