Digambar warns Karnataka on Mhadei

| 16 August 2002 23:09 IST

Goans will not lag behind in cutting hands of those who try to cut the lifeline of Goa by diverting water of river Mhadei, said power minister Digambar Kamat, warning the Karnataka government on the issue.

The state-wide awareness campaign of the Osmitai Jyot (Identity Torch) of Goa Yuva Mahotsav was launched at the hands of the power minister, at a function jointly organised by the Konkani Bhasha Mandal and Vivekanand Kala Sadarikaran Manch in Valpoi on the Independence Day.

Around 600 students and youth as well as writers, artists, educationists and thinkers from all over the state had assembled in the taluka town of Sattari taluka on the occasion. The Identity Torch will tour the whole state with similar programmes, to be culminated on 19 December, the Goa Liberation Day.

While speaking further, Kamat urged the need for all Goans to unite and foil the conspiracy hatched by the Karnataka government to convert Goa into a desert by diverting water of river Mhadei. Though the government is trying its level best to scuttle these plans, he however appealed to the people not to leave everything in the hands of the government but also come forward and build a people's movement by forgetting all the petty differences. He also complimented the young artists for beginning the campaign.

To begin with, Kamat handed over the torch to the Yuva Sankalp of Sanquelim on the occasion. A similar function will be now held in Sanquelim on 18 August at 3 pm. Earlier, the young artists marched around the town, shouting slogans against Mhadei diversion. Kamat then performed a pooja of the kalashi filled with Mhadei water.

While presiding over the function held at Laxmi Memorial hall, Mhadei Bachao Andolan president Nirmala Sawant also asserted that it is time for all the organisations and political parties to stand together as a strong rock to challenge the threat. She also cautioned that all the political parties in Karnataka have supported the plan of the Congress government there, to divert the Mhadei river.

Sawant also regretted that some petty-minded elements are trying to create a rift among Goans by raising unwarranted issues and divide the people's movement against Mhadei diversion. While complimenting the Osmitai Jyot, she also expressed full-fledged support of the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan to the awareness campaign.

Prof. Prakash Paryekar on the occasion informed the gathering that the river diversion will affect 27 villages and the traditional 'puran sheti' in Sattari alone while it would be a similar fate of all the villages situated around the Mhadei river, which joins the Arabian sea as river Mandovi.

Prof. Purnanand Chari reminded the gathering that it was Shenoi Goembab who had inspired the Goans years ago to protect the Goan identity. On the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary, when the government is celebrating it as the Identity Year, it is our bounden duty to come forward to fight for river Mhadei and protect our identity at any cost. He also warned that any attempt to divide the Goans by raising petty controversies will be foiled with an iron hand.

The function began with a welcome song on river Mhadei. KBM president Prof. Sham Verenkar welcomed the gathering while Ganesh Shetkar, president of the Vivekanand Kala Manch proposed a vote of thanks. Prashant Naik compered the function.

The programme was followed by a cultural events like street plays, mime and songs related to the Mhadei issue. Students and youth from Keri, Thane, Charvane, Golali, Hivre, Koparde, Massode, Dabos, Nanod, Sonal, Savadde Tar and Morle colony villages of Sattari as well as groups from different parts of Goa were present at the function.

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