Tuesday 11 December 2018

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Issues | Mhadei

Goans foil attempt of Kannadigas' Dharna in Panaji over Mhadei diversion

 

They came right at the banks of River Mandovi, demanding indirectly that Goa’s lifeline Mandovi should go dry, by diverting Mhadei River to Karnataka. May be handful, but a group of ‘Proud Goans’ foiled their attempt.

The Kannadigas had to be back without holding the demonstration in the capital of Goa.

Karnataka’s Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Organisation had announced a Dharna at Azad Maidan in Panaji today morning, to press for their demand to allow diversion of Mhadei water through Kalsa-Banduri canals.

In retaliation, a group of ‘Swabhimani Goenkar’ (Proud Goans) assembled at Azad Maidan, before the Kannadigas could arrive.

Goan activists displayed their posters of ‘Save Mhadei’ at the Martyrs Memorial, little away from T B Cunha memorial, where Dharna was to be held.

The protesters had to finally walk away without sitting for a Dharna.

DETAILS

Rajendra Kerkar, secretary of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan, agreed that demonstrating is a democratic right of every citizen of India, but not those who do not respect democracy.

“Such a protest itself is undemocratic when the whole dispute of diversion of Mhadei River is before the water dispute tribunal,” he felt.

He was accompanied by social leaders including Dr Dattaram Desai and Rajan Ghate as well as journalist Sagar Jawadekar.

“The Kannadigas are using these democratic methods to influence the judiciary, which is highly objectionable. They could give a memorandum and gone, but why the tamasha of demonstration”, asks Dr Desai.  

Sidharth Kuncalienker, Panaji legislator of BJP, also turned up at Azad Maidan but went away little before Goan activists confronted the Karnataka activists.

Heated arguments took place between Goa’s leaders and Som Shekhar, leader of the human rights organisation.

He tried to convince Goan leaders that they had come to display the human rights issue of Kannadigas before Goans.

But he had no answer when asked why Karnataka has violated all the laws of the land to build the canals to diver the Mhadei water.

Though they claimed that they had come to give a memorandum, when asked, they had no memorandum with them. 

"We had no objection giving memorandum to any authority, but not yet another action to influene the judiciary", said Dr Desai.

Diversion of Mhadei (called Mandovi at Panaji) has been justified in Karnataka, projecting it as a drinking water problem of people from Dharwad and Huballi.

PAST DEVELOPMENTS

The whole cross-section of Karnataka is presently demanding out-of-court settlement on the issue, presumably knowing well that they have no case to win in the court.

The tribunal has reached a final stage of hearing and the order is expected on 23 November.

By destroying the forest belt without permission, Karnataka, on the border of Goa at Kankumbi, has built Kalsa-Banduri canals to divert the Mhadei water to Malprabha River.

The canals were then sealed by constructing concrete blocks after Goa approached the high court.

Losing all the hopes, Karnataka is now organising series of protests, including Karnataka Bandh and Rasta Roko, by mobilising all the political parties, industry, professionals and even the Kannada film stars.

Some top politicians have also sought intervention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra for out-of-court settlement.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has however written last week to his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah to strictly follow all the guidelines of the tribunal, thereby indirectly dismissing any attempt of amicable settlement outside the court.

THE BACKGRUND

The Karnataka presently plans to divert only 7.5 TMC water via Kalsa canal, but has more plans to divert rest of the water that may dry up the whole river Mandovi, the lifeline of Goa.

Mhadei originates in Karnataka, but flows more in Goa and is called river Mandovi once it crosses Sattari.

The life of seven talukas - Sattari, Bicholim, Ponda, Dharbandora, part of Sanguem, Bardez and Tiswadi is fully dependent on this river.

Goa covers 1580 sq kms of the catchment area of Mhadei basin while Karnataka covers only 375 sq kms.

It also includes 76 sq kms of catchment area in Maharashtra.

Karnataka plans to construct at least seven dams and three hydroelectric projects, by diverting the water to river Malprabha.





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Tribunal hearing will start from November 23 and there after order will be given later.

 
Rajendra kerkar , Keri

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