Centre throws Mhadei ball in Karnataka's court

PTI, NEW DELHI | 27 August 2015 20:32 IST

Putting the onus back on Congress, the Centre today said the party should convince its units in Goa and Maharashtra over the Mahadayi river dispute even as it stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was ready to solve the issue by convening a meeting of the chief ministers of the two states and that of Karnataka.

The Centre's response came in the wake of a visit by an all-party delegation led by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to Modi on August 24 demanding an out-of-tribunal settlement to the Mahadayi river water dispute issue, saying that Modi did not give any specific promise regarding the same.

Briefing newspersons here, Union Chemical and Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said that the Prime Minister wanted a permanent resolution and was ready to "intervene" in the dispute.

"When the all-party delegation met the Prime Minister, he was very positive. He assured the delegation that he is not only interested in intervention; he went one step further and said he wants a permanent solution," said Kumar, a BJP MP from Karnataka.

The Union Minister further said Modi was concerned about the drinking water and irrigation problems troubling the north Karnataka region and that he did not have any objections to convening a meeting of the three chief ministers of the states concerned.

"He (Prime Minister) also suggested that if there should be an out-of-tribunal settlement of the Mahadayi river water dispute, he has no objection to calling a meeting of the chief ministers of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka for the same," said Kumar, who was present in the all-party delegation.



Kumar alleged that Karnataka government has not filed an interim application for an interim solution even as the neighbouring Goa government had approached the court over the issue.

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that Congress must convince their counterparts in Maharashtra and Goa, who are in the opposition there.

"Let the Congress friends convince their counterparts in Maharashtra and Goa. Let the BJP take care of BJP. Let the Prime Minister at the end of the day call a meeting of three chief ministers and find a solution," said Naidu, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka.  

Charging that Congress could not find a solution to the Mahadayi river dispute issue even though it was in power at the Centre till last year, Naidu said that some political parties were misleading the people in Karnataka.

He further said that the issue of customs duty reduction on raw silk was discussed during the visit of the all-party delegation and that the Prime Minister has given certain assurances in that regard.

Earlier, Kumar appealed to the farmers of north Karnataka to maintain peace and cooperate while expressing confidence that the state government and the Centre would work together to find a solution to the Mahadayi river dispute.

It may be recalled that against the backdrop of an agitation in parts of Karnataka over Mahadayi river water dispute with Goa and Maharashtra, an all-party delegation from Karnataka led by Siddaramaiah had met Modi seeking his intervention in the matter.

Both Maharashtra and Goa at present have BJP-led governments at the helm.

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