2000 farmers walk to Kankumbi, perform Maha Pooja for Mhadei diversion

VISHANT VAZE, BICHOLIM | 21 October 2015 22:18 IST

Around 2000 Karnataka farmers, led this time by religious leaders, walked a distance of almost 200 kilometres and performed a Maha Pooja at Kankumbi, for an out-of-court settlement on Mhadei water dispute.

The Kalsa canal is situated at Kankumbi, on the border of Goa, after crossing the Chorla Ghat.

Karnataka is following all the possible methods to press for its demand to divert Mhadei water to its Malprabha River, via canals, to feed the farmers of Dharwad and Hubli.

On the eve of Dussehra, thousands of farmers belonging to all religions, even Muslims and Christians, walked to Kankumbi.

Mrityunjay Swami of Kudal Sangam performed the Maha Pooja at Mauli temple, amidst playing Bhajan and prayed for an early solution to the drought-type situation in their state.

Goa however has strongly objected to the water diversion, stating that it would lead to drought in the tourist state since Mhadei (called Mandovi when it reaches Panaji) is the lifeline of North Goa.

The hearing before the Mhadei water dispute tribunal would once again begin from 23 November.

However, realising that their case is very weak, the southern state is trying all possible methods for out-of-court settlement on the issue.

On the other hand, Nagaraj, leader of Vetal Nagaraj Party, has threatened to break open the vents built in the canal, on 26 October.

The vents (concrete blocks) are built as per the order issued by the court in order to restrain Karnataka government from diverting Mhadei water to Malprabha through Kalsa and Banduri canals.

As a precaution, around 800 policemen were today seen guarding the canal area so that no vent is broken while Maha Pooja was performed.

Some of the leaders spoke to this reporter, demanding that central government should intervene and resolve the issue amicably by bringing chief ministers of all the three states – Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra – together.

Meanwhile, Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar today once again dismissed the possibility of out-of-court settlement.

“We will wait for the outcome of the tribunal”, he said.

Stating that he has already written to his Karnataka counterpart, Parsekar once again cautioned about the undemocratic and illegal means some elements in Karnataka are resorting to. 

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