CM blasts CWC over Mhadei diversion

| 25 June 2002 23:14 IST

Goa government has made corruption charges against secretary of the union ministry of water resources, while expressing total mistrust in the Central Water Commission.

The state is now planning to move to the Supreme Court, asking for a stay on the letter issued by the CWC secretary B N Nawalwala that Karnataka could divert water of river Mhadei, while the matter is still under dispute.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar is also planning to meet prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging him to set up a tribunal to decide on the inter-state water dispute.

Using the letter issued by the CWC on 30 April, Karnataka government however is making moves to set up a hydroelectric project by diverting Mhadei water and seeking permission from the National Thermal Power Corporation.

Suspecting hand of the Karnataka government in getting this letter, Parrikar points out that Nawalwala had issued the letter on the last day of his retirement. "Surprisingly, he was then given extension in service", he states, suspecting that extension must have been the part of the deal.

The letter issued by him as the CWC secretary states that Karnataka could use 7.5 TMC water of river Mhadei for drinking water purpose for Hubli and Dharwar, once the CWC allocates the quota for Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Though river Mhadei originates in the forests of Karnataka, major portion of its basin is in Goa, besides little part of it also flowing through Maharashtra. The river, as Mandovi, then joins the Arabian sea in Goa.

The official figures indicate that Goa covers the catchment area of 1580 sq kms of the Mhadei basin while Karnataka covers 375 sq kms. The catchment area in Maharashtra however is only 76 sq kms.

Goa has raised the issue before the CWC from the time Karnataka has announced its plan to divert the water - at its origin - to Malprabha and construct almost seven dams and three hydroelectric projects there.

"Karnataka is a water-deficit state and it just cannot be relied upon with the way they have been breaking laws in the Cauvery dispute", states Parrikar. The diversion however is a major issue of public concern here as river Mandovi is considered a lifeline of Goa.

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