IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th June, 2023 Economy

Copyright infringement not intended

Context: The Karnataka government has submitted a revised proposal to the National Wildlife Board (NWB) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for obtaining clearance to use 26.92 hectares of forest land for the Kalasa-Banduri project. The forest land falls under the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to several endangered species of flora and fauna.


  • The Kalasa-Banduri project is a long-pending initiative of the Karnataka government to divert water from the Mahadayi River to four drought-prone districts of the state: Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Gadag.
  • The project involves constructing barrages on two tributaries of the Mahadayi River, namely Kalasa and Banduri, and channelling the water through pipelines.

Kalasa-Banduri Project


  • The Kalasa-Banduri Project was conceived in the 1980s as a solution to the chronic water scarcity faced by the northern districts of Karnataka.
  • The project received clearance from the central government in 2002. However, the project soon faced opposition from Goa and Maharashtra, who claimed that the project would adversely affect their water rights and interests.
    • Goa raised environmental concerns, alleging that the project would harm the biodiversity and ecology of the Western Ghats and the Mandovi River basin.

Expected benefits to the people of Karnataka

  • It will provide drinking water to about 13 towns with a population of about 16 lahks people.
  • It will augment irrigation facilities in about 1.5 lahks hectares of land in the Malaprabha command area. This will improve agricultural productivity and income for the farmers in the region.
  • It will generate hydroelectric power from the various dams and canals.
  • It will boost industrial development and urbanization in the region by providing a reliable water supply for various purposes.

The Project has faced several challenges since its inception

  • The project has been stalled by legal disputes between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra over the sharing of the Mahadayi river water. Goa has approached the Supreme Court against the project, alleging that it violates its riparian rights and interests. Maharashtra has also claimed its share of water from the river.
  • The project has also been opposed by various environmental groups and activists, who have raised concerns about its ecological impacts on the Western Ghats and the Mandovi River basin. They have argued that the project will affect the biodiversity, hydrology, geomorphology and climate of the region.
  • The project has faced technical and financial hurdles, such as land acquisition, forest clearance, cost escalation and fund allocation. The project has also faced delays in obtaining various clearances and approvals from the central and state governments.

Possible Steps that can be taken to expedite the project are:

  • The project should be implemented in accordance with the award of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT), which was formed in 2010 to adjudicate the water dispute between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
  • It should obtain all the mandatory and statutory clearances from the central and state governments as required by law. These include clearances under the Forest Conservation Act of 1981, Environment Protection Act of 1985, Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, National Green Tribunal Act of 2010 and others.
  • Comply with the norms and guidelines of the Central Water Commission (CWC), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) and others.
  • Adopt an integrated water resources management (IWRM) approach, which considers the social, economic and environmental aspects of water use and management.
  • Ensure that the water diversion does not adversely affect the downstream users and ecosystems in Goa and Maharashtra.
  • Adopt water conservation and efficiency measures to reduce wastage and losses of water. It should also explore alternative sources of water, such as rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, desalination and others.
  • Foster dialogue and cooperation among the stakeholders, such as Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, central government, local communities, civil society groups and others. It should create a platform for sharing information, data, views and concerns among the stakeholders.
  • It should seek to resolve conflicts and disputes through negotiation, mediation and arbitration. The project should also promote public awareness and participation in the planning and implementation of the project.

The Kalasa-Banduri Project is a long-awaited dream for the people of Karnataka. It is also a test case for inter-state river water sharing and management in India. The project can be a win-win situation for all if it is implemented in a fair, transparent and sustainable manner.


  • The Kalasa-Banduri Project is a crucial project for the people of Karnataka, especially those living in the northern districts. The project has the potential to address the water scarcity and drought problems in the region and improve the quality of life and livelihoods of the people. However, the project also has to balance the interests and concerns of the other stakeholders, such as Goa, Maharashtra and the environment. Therefore, the project needs a holistic and cooperative approach to resolve the issues and challenges involved.

Must Read Articles:

Mahadayi River: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/mahadayi-river-water-dispute


Q. Which tribunal was formed to resolve the water dispute between Karnataka and Goa over Kalasa-Banduri Project?

A) Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal

B) Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal

C) Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal

D) Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal

Answer: C

Explanation: The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was formed in 2010 to resolve the water dispute between Karnataka and Goa over Kalasa-Banduri Project.