Another attempt to divert Mhadei water

| 16 December 2000 23:21 IST

Karnataka is getting into yet another water dispute with Goa over its proposed plans to divert major source of water coming down to river Mandovi, the lifeline of the northern part of the tourist state.

Incidentally, the opposition to build a dam at Nersa by blocking two major nullahs and diverting water to river Malprabha, has come from residents of seven villages in Karnataka itself.

Nersa Parisar Saurakshan Samiti, consisting of seven villages and headed by Vanashree Desai, is being formed with active help of Belgaum Nature Lovers' Club to oppose the proposed dam.

As the dam would dry up almost 60 per cent of the flow of river Mandovi (also known as Mhadei from ancestral days), the Mhadei Bachao Andolan has also joined hands with the neighbours to fight the issue.

Situated at barely 25 kms from Goa's north-eastern boundary along the Belgaum road, Nersa is part of the proposed Bhimgarh sanctuary and covers a rich forest and agricultural belt of the area.

As two major nullahs of Bandura and Sangarhole meet at Nersa, the Karnataka government plans to stop the water flow there by building a dam between two hills and divert the water back to a tributary of Malprabha river by constructing a 300-foot wide and 45-foot deep canal.

The proposed plan would submerge at least 1200 acres of land, including 475 acres of agricultural land having cultivation of sugarcane, groundnut and paddy. Though the habitation would be left out, the residents in and around Nersa would be left high and dry, having no other option but to migrate.

While the political leaders in the area are enraged over the plan, the BJP government in Goa is also upset with the plan. In fact chief minister Manohar Parrikar plans to discuss the issue threadbare when he meets his Karnataka counterpart S M Krishna next week.

The groundwork to construct the dam has suddenly gained momentum after Krishna conducted an aerial survey two months ago. Goan authorities are however more upset because Karnataka did not even inform them while two states are already debating over the issue of building almost 10 dams in Karnataka, diverting flow of Mhadei.

According to Nirmala Sawant, convenor of the Mhadei Bachao Andolan, the new plan is a revised one on the northern side to begin with. Also being appointed the state Congress president now, she plans to apprise party president Sonia Gandhi about the anti-Goa policies adopted by her partymen in Karnataka.

Mhadei, which merges into the Arabian sea as river Mandovi in Panaji, traverses a distance of 28.8 kms in Karnataka and 81.2 kms in Goa. Its total catchment area is estimated at 2032 sq kms, out of which 1580 sq kms lies in Goa and the rest in Karnataka. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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