Goa doing very little than Karnataka to fight Mhadei diversion: Kerkar

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 13 December 2015 16:23 IST

Goa is not doing enough to fight the issue of Mhadei river diversion, compared to the organised way in which Karnataka is fighting.

This is the feeling expressed by Rajendra Kerkar, secretary of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan, while speaking at the 21st Goa Yuva Mahotsav in Panaji.

He also alleged that Karnataka does not want to divert water of Mhadei to meet the necessity of drinking water but for its sugarcane plantation and other industries coming up in the state.

Kerkar, along with Dr Prakash Parienkar, were interviewed by Gopinath Gawas and Naman Sawant Dhawaskar.

Kerkar said Goa set up an office to fight the issue of Mhadei diversion before the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal only when defence minister Manohar Parrikar became the chief minister.

“Comparatively, the response of the earlier chief minister from Sattari (Pratapsing Rane) was not very encouraging”, said Kerkar, who also hails from Keri, Sattari.

Karnataka has not organised only the political parties, MPs, MLAs and central ministers but even the film stars, lawyers, religious leaders, social organisations and the peasants.

Compared to this, Kerkar feels what lacks in Goa is the political will and social consciousness on the issue and danger posed before the state.

Half of Goa would literally dry up if Mhadei water (called river Mandovi in Panaji) is diverted by Karnataka, tells Kerkar.

Mhadei is called the lifeline of Goa.

NOT FOR DRINKING

Kerkar refused to accept the argument that Karnataka wants to divert 7 TMC water through Kalsa-Banduri canals at Kankumbi from Mhadei to Malprabha to serve the purpose of drinking water.

“Karnataka is expanding its base of sugarcane plantation, covering 517 lakh hectares and also some other industrial plants coming up in Dharwad districts and other surrounding areas”, said Kerkar.

He alleged that Karnataka is making the issue emotional by posing the problem of drinking water when actually they want Goa’s water for economic benefits.

But then why does Goa want Mhadei water when he river simply flows down from Sattari and joins the Arabian sea?

Kerkar, the environmentalist, doesn’t agree.

According to him, the sweet natural water of Mhadei is neutralising the salinity of our rivers and tributaries from Sattari to Panaji, covering six talukas of North Goa.

If Mhadei water is diverted, it would result into spread of several diseases and even epidemics while destroying biodiversity of Sahyadri range, points out the environmental researcher.

TRIBUNAL IS A WRONG STRATEGY

Kerkar also felt that filing a case before the Water Dispute Tribunal against Karnataka’s attempt to divert river diversion was a wrong strategy.

“Tribunal is meant to decide sharing of water, not to decide whether water should be given or not”, says Kerkar.

Goa is presently opposing to divert a single drop of water of Mhadei River before the tribunal while Karnataka is demanding to divert only 7 TMC of water.

He fears that the tribunal may finally take a decision to share the water.

“We need to argue our case vigorously before the tribunal”, he demands.

WATER SHOULD BE A THOUGHT

Dr Prakash Parienkar, who has written a researched book on Mhadei, said that diversion of Mhadei or even problem of water should not be looked upon as yet another issue.

“Water should become a thought, not an issue”, he feels.

According to him, Mhadei should become thought in writing, singing, tracking and even in education.

The thought should reflect through every possible means of our lives, may it be art, culture, literature, drama, film, politics, business and every aspect of our day-to-day life, feel Parienkar, a writer and educationist.

Both Kerkar and Parienkar also felt that students and youth should rise up against the attempt of Mhadei diversion and make the whole Goa aware of the danger posed to our day—to-day life. 

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