Maharashtra also affected by Mhadei project

| 09 February 2001 23:19 IST

The inter-state water dispute between Karnataka and Goa has taken a new dimension with Maharashtra also being roped into it, in support of the tiny tourist state.

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, known also as Mandovi, would literally dry up.

According to state irrigation minister Ramakant Khalap, part of the river Mhadei falls into Maharashtra and Karnataka's diversion plans would thus also affect the Sindhudurg district of the state. Goa is placed in between both these states.

He has thus written to Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to take up the issue seriously. Khalap also plans to meet Deshmukh in person, urging him to study the issue and oppose the Karnataka plans.

As informed by S D Sayanak, the irrigation chief engineer, Goa covers the major catchment area of 1580 sq kms of the Mhadei basin while Karnataka covers 375 sq kms and the catchment area in Maharashtra is 76 sq kms.

The Valvanti river of Sanquelim in Goa originates in Karnataka as the Haltar river and then goes to Maharashtra as the Virdi river, before flowing down to the tourist state. The plan of the southern state to construct the Kalsa-Haltar dam would thus affect both the states, says Sayanak.

While constituting an experts committee to study the issue threadbare, Khalap in the meanwhile has also written to prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, requesting him to intervene into the matter, which now involves three states.

Khalap also agrees with the fear expressed by Goa PCC president Nirmala Sawant, who is also the convenor of the Mhadei Bachao Andolan, that these dams could be harmful in view of concern expressed by seismologists that more dams and hydroelectric projects could cause more earthquakes.

Stating that this issue would also be made part of the tripartite discussions he is now planning for, Khalap says no government can now think of any kind of structure - a building or a dam - without taking into consideration the threat of earthquake. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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