Panaji, Nov 7 : Goa BJP Minister Michael Lobo on Thursday tried to underplay Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar's controversial nod to the Kalasa-Banduri project in Karnataka, claiming the endorsement was "politically motivated".
"Everyone should understand that bypolls are scheduled in that state (Karnataka). There could also be fresh elections in that state. Political situation is not very good over there. But we should not get distracted by any letters issued to them," Ports Minister Lobo told a press conference.
Karnataka is scheduled to witness assembly bypolls to 15 seats soon.
"Time and again such letters have been issued... Sometimes these type of letters are also given for political reasons," Lobo also said, alleging a political motive to the letter written to the Karnataka government by the Javadekar's ministry on October 23.
Lobo's comment mirrors a charge, repeatedly made by the Opposition in Goa, which has accused the BJP of trying to give political colour to the ongoing controversy over the Kailasa-Banduri project.
The project aims to divert additional water from the basin of the Mhadei river, to the water deficit basin of the Malaprabha river in Karnataka, ostensibly for drinking water purposes.
On Sunday, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant led an all-party delegation to the national capital to meet Javadekar and submitted a memorandum urging him to withdraw the letter endorsing the Kalasa-Banduri project, claiming diversion of the Mhadei waters would result in an ecological disaster in Goa.
The Goa government has already filed a special leave petition before the Supemre Court accusing Karnataka of illegalities in the construction of the dam, which is a part of the water diversion project.
The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
An inter-state water disputes tribunal, set up by the Central government, after hearing the over two-decade-old dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over Mhadei river water sharing, had, in its award in August 2018, allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) from the Mhadei river basin (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka. Maharashtra has been allotted 1.33 TMC.