In an unsurprising move, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa allocated Rs 500 crore for the construction of the Kalasa and Banduri reservoirs as part of the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The allocation of funds comes after the central government notified the final award laid down by the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal. The tribunal in August 2018 allocated 13.42 tmcft of water from the Mahadayi river to Karnataka. The river flows through Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
"Our government is committed to the speedy continuation of the much anticipated Mahadayi Project which is very helpful to the people and farmers of the North Karnataka region. The central government has issued the notification as per the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. We congratulate the central government for this. In accordance with the notification, our Government will provide Rs 500 crore in the year 2020-21 to take up the works of Kalasa and Banduri nalas under the Mahadayi Project," Yediyurappa announced at the Vidhana Soudha on Thursday.
Some activists involved in the agitation for the Mahadayi project's implementation welcomed the allocation of funds. "We welcome the move to allocate Rs 500 crore for the Mahadayi project. We also welcome the move to reallocate key offices to Belagavi," Ashok Chandargi, an activist based in Belagavi told TNM.
However, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah criticised the state government's allocation of Rs 500 crore for the Mahadayi project terming it as 'meagre'. "They have allocated Rs 500 crore for Kalasa-Banduri and Rs 1,500 for Yettinahole. That is less than what we allocated. Rs 40,000 crore is needed for the Upper Krishna Project and the amount they have allocated is meagre," Siddaramaiah said, speaking to reporters following the budget presentation.
He further claimed that the BJP was taking credit for the allocation of funds for the Mahadayi project. "They are taking credit for Mahadayi issue. Our lawyers got the tribunal’s order. We got the Mahadayi tribunal verdict when our government is in power. They did not hold talks with Goa. Now they are taking credit for it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to speak to us when we went to make a representation for Mahadayi issue," Siddaramaiah added.