PM's intervention demanded on Mhadei

| 08 March 2001 23:18 IST

Goa has now urged prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to intervene and direct Karnataka to stop diversion of Mhadei water to the southern state.

Attention of important central leaders is being drawn towards the Goa-Karnataka water dispute with Congress leader Sonia Gandhi also being requested to instruct her party government in Karnataka not to go ahead with any construction work of dams along the inter-state border.

BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar, along with state irrigation minister Ramakant Khalap, has already submitted a memorandum to Vajpayee in this regard, bringing to his notice the ongoing work at the proposed dam sites.

By diverting water of river Mhadei, which originates in the forests of the southern state, Karnataka plans to construct seven dams and three hydroelectric projects. As a result, Goa would be affected the most as the river, also known as Mandovi, would literally dry up.

"We will once again meet Vajpayeeji in April to discuss the issue in detail after the PMO studies our memorandum", informed Parrikar after returning from his Delhi visit. He has demanded a tripartite talk on the issue, roping in Maharashtra into it as part of its Konkan region would also be affected, before starting any work at the sites.

The state government is also exploring all other channels to stop Karnataka's diversion plans including the legal channel and the Central Water Tribunal. He has also requested Nirmala Sawant, the Goa PCC chief and convenor of Mhadei Bachao Andolan, to talk to Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna.

Though they try to take political benefit out of the issue, most of Goa's politicians have vehemently opposed any attempt to divert Mhadei water to Karnataka as the river is a lifeline of the state, especially North Goa, till it joins the Arabian sea in Panaji.

Sawant, in the meanwhile, is planning to have a meeting with her party CM Krishna at the AICC plenary session in Bangalore on 17 and 18 March. "I have already briefed my party president Soniaji in this regard, demanding her intervention", she says.

Meanwhile, Parrikar has flayed the observation of Kashinath Jalmi, leader of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, that Karnataka could be allowed to use the water as Goa was not making any use of it. Jalmi suggests that the government should go ahead with Mandovi irrigation project, which has been stalled due to environmental reasons.

"We also need Mhadei water to flush out the salinity of Arabian sea, which otherwise travels up to 65 kms inside towards the hinterland", points out the Goa CM. The BJP leader feels that Goa need not construct any dam to counter Karnataka plans.

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