Karnataka govt gives nod for Mahadayi Hydro Power Project implementation
The Karnataka BJP administration has issued an order for the development of a hydropower plant project utilizing water from the disputed river’s basin, two years after the Union government notified the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) verdict.
This comes as the BJP administration is under pressure from the Opposition Congress to complete major water resource projects, including Mahadayi and Mekedatu.
The government has given authorization to the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) to implement the Mahadayi Hydro Power Project, according to an order released earlier this month, based on the MWDT’s final conclusion.
The government directive references the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal’s (MWDT) final findings, which states that Karnataka can utilize 8.02 tmc water for electricity generation.
The tribunal allotted 13.42 tmcft of water to Karnataka in its August 2018 award, which the Centre announced in February 2020, including 5.40 tmcft for consumptive usage. Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) managing director V Ponnuraj told that the specifics are being worked out.
It is currently in the planning stages. ‘We need to figure out the detailed project report (DPR) and the cost of execution,’ he explained.
Even after the Tribunal’s decision, challenges the water distribution are still pending before the Supreme Court. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai recently stated that the Supreme Court is considering cases because Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa have filed complaints about the water allotment.
Despite the current litigation, officials from the departments of energy and water resources indicated that the government was well within its rights to design the project as long as it followed the existing tribunal judgement.
According to a water resources official, the outstanding petitions in the Supreme Court include requests by state governments for increased water allocation on top of what the Tribunal has already given. There is no difficulty in drafting DPRs in accordance with the Tribunal award that has already been notified.
‘However, Karnataka must seek statutory permits for the DPRs from bodies such as the Central Water Commission and the forest department,’ according to the source.
Meanwhile, energy department sources said the ball is now in the hands of the KPCL, which must move the project forward by producing a DPR for the hydropower project.