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Rahul urges Modi to call CMs’ meet over Mahadayi river dispute

Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra are embroiled in a dispute regarding the diversion of water from the Mahadayi river, and the matter is currently being heard by the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2018 23:43 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Hubballi
Hubballi,Mahadayi river,Mahadayi river dispute
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah wave from a bus after visiting Shree Renuka Yellamma Temple in Belgaum on Monday. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of the Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra chief ministers on the Mahadayi issue and ensure drinking water for the Mumbai-Karnataka region.

The three states are embroiled in a dispute regarding the diversion of water from the Mahadayi river, and the matter is currently being heard by the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal. The bench has said it will not oppose an out-of-court settlement if the three states happen to reach one.

Addressing a rally here on the final day of the second leg of his Janashirvada Yatra, Gandhi accused the Prime Minister of “making excuses wherever he goes”. “Bring all the three chief ministers together and find a solution to the Mahadayi issue. Don’t make excuses. It’s a drinking water problem, please solve this soon,” he said.

The Mumbai-Karnataka region accounts for 50 of the 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly.

The Congress president claimed that despite schemes like Make in India being launched with much fanfare, commodities continue to bear the ‘Made in China’ stamp. “My dream is that five years from now, phones will be made in India with ‘Made in Karnataka’ written on them,” Gandhi said. He quipped that while this was a difficult task, it can certainly not be done through “empty promises” such as Modi’s assurance of generating 20 million jobs a year.

Millions of youth migrate from rural to urban areas every day in search of jobs, Gandhi said. “They’re not asking for a gift; they want to take this country ahead. It’s their right... But Modi can give only 450 jobs a day, even with 56-inch chest.”

The Congress president also attacked the Prime Minister on corruption, accusing him of keeping mum while diamond businessman Nirav Modi fled the country and BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay amassed huge profits post-demonetisation.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah also upped the ante against the BJP, charging it with lying to the people about Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s willingness to divert 7.56 tmcft of Mahadayi water to the region. Referring to a letter written by Parrikar to former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa in this regard, Siddaramaiah said it was odd that the latter hasn’t moved forward on the proposal. “This only shows that they’re trying to deceive you,” he claimed. “As the Supreme Court made it clear that providing drinking water is a priority (in its verdict on the Cauvery dispute), I urge the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter. Let the BJP leaders from this state ask him to intervene.”

But Muralidhar Rao, BJP general secretary in charge of Karnataka, accused Gandhi of indulging in doublespeak. “His own party in Goa is opposing the sharing of water. It is a prerequisite for Rahul Gandhi to say the same thing in Goa before making such a demand from the Prime Minister,” he said.

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 23:43 IST