Cong warns Goa govt against talks with Karnataka on Mahadayi river dispute
The Congress in Goa has accused the ruling BJP of putting the party’s interests over state’s after it emerged that chief minister Pramod Sawant and his Karnataka counterpart B S Yediyurappa were due to hold talks over the protracted Mahadayi river dispute later this week.
Former chief minister and leader of opposition Digambar Kamat said there was nothing to discuss since the Mhadei Tribunal had already passed its award.
“Mhadei Tribunal has already given its Award. Hence no scope for any further discussions now. Hope @goacm will act in the interest of the State,” Kamat tweeted.
On Monday too, Kamat had warned against any such move.
“As far as Mhadei Tribunal is concerned, there is an award. So I do not know what is the meaning of talking or a negotiated settlement. There is a Tribunal, they have already given in the assembly, that the Tribunal has passed an award. Once the award is passed, I do not think there is any question of negotiating a settlement,” Kamat had said.
The river is called Mahadayi in Karnataka and Mhadei in Goa.
In Bengaluru, Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa told reporters Tuesday that he planned to meet his Goa counterpart Sawant later this week in an attempt to find an amicable solution to the issue.
On Monday, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, who hails from Karnataka, had said a ‘negotiated settlement’ is the best way forward.
“I can only suggest at this moment that concerned CMs can sit and talk and try to resolve the issue and the matter has already been to the Tribunal and Tribunal has given its award, but in spite of that negotiated settlement will be a better settlement,” Joshi said.
Over the last decade and a half Goa has consistently resisted holding talks with Karnataka and has been firm in its stance not to allow its neighbour to divert any water from the Mhadei river. Karnataka has a grandiose plan to divert water from the west flowing Mhadei River that originates in the Western Ghats in North Karnataka along Goa’s border with the east flowing Malaprabha river. Goa has spent more than Rs 16 crores on lawyer fees defending its case.
In December 2017, then chief minister Manohar Parrikar came under fierce criticism after he wrote a letter to Yeddyurappa stating that Goa was “willing to consider the request to work out an amicable settlement strictly restricted to drinking water only to the drought prone areas” on humanitarian grounds.
The letter was seen as a political ploy to earn the BJP votes ahead of the Karnataka polls which were scheduled in early 2018.
Goa has argued that the Mhadei is itself a deficient basin and any diversion of water would threaten the drinking water needs of Goa’s villages downstream.
Goa and Karnataka have been involved in a protracted dispute over sharing of the waters of the Mahadayi which originates in the Western Ghats in Karnataka before making its way into Goa as the Mandovi river.
In a verdict delivered in August last year, the Mahadayi Interstate Water Disputes Tribunal has awarded Karnataka a total of 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water as against their demand for 36.556 TMC of water.
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