The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has deferred the decision on diverting forest land from the Kali and Sahyadri tiger reserves for the construction of a part of the Karnataka government’s Kalasa Nala water diversion scheme.
The Standing Committee of NBWL discussed the issue in a meeting on January 30.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the state government sought the diversion of 10.68 hectares of forest land from the tiger corridor between the Kali and Sahyadri tiger reserves for the construction of a diversion weir, jack well-cum-pump house, and an electrical substation, as well as laying a pipeline and power line for the Kalasa Nala Diversion Scheme in Khanapur Taluk of Belagavi district.
The Standing Committee was informed that the chief wildlife warden of Karnataka, the State Board for Wildlife, and the state government had recommended the proposal.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) mentioned that the matter is sub-judice and, therefore, did not provide any comment on it, according to the minutes of the meeting.
“The Standing Committee decided that comments on the proposal should be sought from the NTCA in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Accordingly, the proposal was deferred for the next meeting,” the MoM read.
The Kalasa-Banduri Project of the Karnataka government proposes to divert Mahadayi river water into the Malaprabha river in the state to enhance drinking water supply to Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkote, and Gadag districts.
The Mahadayi river flows through Karnataka and Goa before joining the Arabian Sea. Known as Mandovi in Goa, it is one of the two major rivers of the western state.
The diversion of Mahadayi water has been a point of contention between Karnataka and Goa, with the latter claiming it would strip the state of its flora and fauna.