KERI: Goa officials were bullied, verbally-abused and their movements restrained during a chaotic inspection at the Kalasa project site in Kankumbi.
The inspection, scheduled by Karnataka with only three days for the Supreme Court-mandated deadline to expire, turned out to be a farce as the southern state deployed a huge posse of policemen at the Goa border at Chorla, at the Kalasa site, and at the PWD inspection bungalow.
While the SC directed that the inspection should be carried out by one superintending engineer each from Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the Goa representative, MK Prasad, found himself outnumbered as his Karnataka counterpar, Krishnoji Rao, was accompanied by a dozen or so senior officials.
Reporters from Goa weren’t allowed to leave the state, as police on the Karnataka side didn’t allow them entry.
Rao, Prasad and Maharashtra representative Vijaykumar Mohite were to visit the site, conduct the inspection, and submit the report to the SC. Only this team was to conduct the site inspection and submit a report of the ground realities at the Kalasa site, where Goa has accused Karnataka of violations by diverting the natural flow of the Kalasa nalla into the Malaprabha basin.
Two junior engineers and two technicians of the Goa WRD were driven out of the inspection bungalow at Kankumbi, where the joint monitoring team was compiling its report behind closed doors. Khanapur PI Basagauda Patil drove out junior engineers Agnelo Fernandes and Bipin Karapurkar without provocation.
Meanwhile, senior Karnataka officials, including managing director of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd and the chief engineer of Karnataka’s WRD, were seen walking in and out of the joint monitoring team meeting.
The police inspector also forced the Goan JEs, as well as this reporter, to remain standing. The PI also verbally abused them, restrained their movements, snatched their identity cards and subjected them to cross-questioning. This reporter’s camera was also searched by Patil.
All visitors from Goa were let off after subjecting them to ill-treatment for more than an hour, and only after assistant engineer, Goa WRD, Dilip Naik arrived at the scene and took strong objection to the treatment meted out to the Goans.
In the meantime, the hydrologist from Karnataka entered the joint monitoring team’s meeting and attempted to influence the monitoring team on how no violations had been carried out by Karnataka at the Kalasa site. The hydrologist was allowed to make a presentation on Friday to the joint monitoring without any intimation.
Till late on Friday evening, the pressure tactics continued, with the Goa representative, MK Prasad, still at the inspection Bungalowbin Kankumbi. The work of filing the report by the team was delayed due to the unwarranted presentations organized by Karnataka.
Also, contradictory to the apex court directives to constitute only a three-member joint monitoring team, Karnataka government out of its own accord nominated another superintending engineering posted in Hidkal, Dyamannavar RB, to co-ordinate the team’s visit.