Wednesday 24 October 2018

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Issues | Mhadei

Karnataka and Maharashtra hand-in-glove over Mhadei diversion: AG

 

Are two big brothers – Karnataka and Maharashtra – hand in gloves to strangulate younger brother Goa and deprive it of its own water flowing from the Sahyadri range?

Goa’s Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni feels so, in the case of the attempted diversion of Mhadei River by Karnataka.

He made the allegation at a special meeting convened at the International Centre Goa today evening on the issue of ‘Mhadei River Dispute: Implications for Goa’.

According to Adv Nadkarni, Karnataka is planning to build almost 12 dams while Maharashtra is planning to construct four dams at Virdi, which will severely affect Mhadei river (Mandovi called in Panaji) flowing to Goa.

He said these plans are submitted by both the governments before the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal, where Goa’s case is being presently heard.

Karnataka started its arguments with a submission to divert only 3 TMC water for drinking purpose while its fresh submission now spells out its plan to divert 24 TMC water for the purpose of drinking as well as irrigation, disclosed the advocate general.

“Even if Karnataka builds four dams along its basin falling in their state, our Dudhsagar and Surla waterfalls would dry up”, he said.

While the diversion plan is completely illegal, Nadkarni observed that Karnataka has completed almost 86 per cent work of Kalsa-Banduri canals, in order to divert Mhadei water to Malprabha River.

“Mandovi is a water-deficient basin and it completely dries up in the interiors of Sahyadri during monsoons”, he pointed out.

GOANS, COME FORWARD: CM

While ruling out the possibility of having any kind of talks with Karnataka despite their consistent efforts, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar once again ruled out any kind of out-of-court settlement on the dispute.

“My only worry is that people of Goa are not participating in the movement against Mhadei diversion while Karnataka is mobilising all sections of the society”, he said while speaking his mind.

He also informed the audience, which included Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan secretary Rajendra Kerkar, that Goa government has appointed two experts - Suresh Chandra and Chetan Pandit, former chairman of Water Commission of India, to assist the team of lawyers in Delhi.

56% of Goa’s population and 42% of Goa’s area is fully dependent on Mhadei basin, said Parsekar, while once again appealing to the people to remain alert on Karnataka’s consistent efforts to divert Mhadei water.

‘GOANS WILL DIE IF WATER DIVERTED’

“We are fully with the government on the issue”, assured opposition leader Pratapsing Range, whose Congress party is presently ruling Karnataka.

Going beyond party lines, Rane in fact labelled Karnataka as a ‘fighting state’ which is having quarrels with all the neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

“Being a big brother, Karnataka should not bully Goa in this manner”, he felt.

Water Resources Minister Dayanand Mandrekar refuted Karnataka’s allegation that Goa benefits more from Mhadei since it covers a basin of 76 kms in Goa compared to only 36 kms in Karnataka.

“Almost 46 km long stretch of it, from Mandovi in Panaji to Ganje is actually full with salinity”, he said.

He also informing that Karnataka farmers had come to meet him with a threat that opposing diversion would lead to farmers’ suicide in Karnataka.

“I told them Goans will die for want of water if the river water is diverted,” said Mandrekar.






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