GOA: NO SHARING OF MHADEI WATER WITH K’TAKA: EX AND PRESENT MLAS SPEAK IN ONE VOICE
Panaji (Goa): Amidst controversy over the distribution of Mhadei river water, the past and present legislators have come together demanding that Goa government should not bend down to Karnataka’s “request to utilise 7.56TMC of water from the Mhadei for drinking purposes in the drought-prone areas of north Karnataka.”
President of Mahadayi Bachao Abhiyan and ex-minister Nirmala Sawant has opposed sharing of river water to another basin. “Karnataka can use it within the basin, but asking for Goa’s share and diverting it to Malaprabha basin and thereafter to Dharwad and Hubli districts does not fit the law. They do not want water for drinking purpose as they claim but for sugarcane growers and industries in Dharwad,” she alleged asking Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to not hold any discussions with its counterpart.
She pointed out that if Goa will quench the thirst of north Karnataka, then why not its very own State wherein capital city Panjim is already short of 10 MLD. Sawant claimed that Mhadei already has a share of 29 km of Mhadei river water stretch and it should intend to infringe into Goa’s share.
Another ex-legislator Babuso Gaonkar, while lamenting that Parrikar agreed to a bilateral discussion over the sharing of Mhadei water in a letter to the Karnataka BJP Chief B S Yeddurappa last month without taking Goans into confidence, claimed that Karnataka is rich in forests and water resources and as such it should not depend on Goa for further share of water.
Calangute MLA Michael Lobo too demanded that Goa government should not compromise on Mhadei. The politicians have called for unity among the elected and past legislators cutting across the party lines, to pressurize Goa government not to bog down to any external pressure tactics over sharing of the Mhadei water.
In an unprecedented move, Parrikar last month sent a letter to Yeddyurappa stating “in principle Goa would not oppose reasonable and justified quantum” of drinking water to Karnataka from the Mhadei river on “humanitarian grounds”, which Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah dubbed as a “political gimmick” ahead of the assembly elections early next year. Parrikar’s letter came a day after BJP national president Amit Shah held a meeting in Delhi between Karnataka party leaders and the Goa chief minister and is in response to Yeddyurappa’s request to utilise 7.56TMC of water from the Mhadei for drinking purposes in the drought-prone areas of north Karnataka.
Parrikar had later stated that his letter said: “I’m ready to talk but within the parameters of the Mhadei tribunal.”