Bengaluru: Several social activists, social organisations and opposition parties in Goa have come under one banner of ‘Save Goa – Save Mhadei’ to fight against the nod given by the Central Government to Detailed Project Report of Karnataka for disputed Kalasa-Bhanduri dam project.
‘Save Goa – Save Mhadei’ movement has paced in the coastal state and people associated with it are holding a series of meetings to make the protest scheduled on January 16 successful, which is observed as the Opinion Day of Goa, at Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s constituency Sanquelim in North Goa.
Political Parties like Goa Forward, Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and Trinamool Congress are supporting this movement. Also a number of NGOs and social activists are working to show their strength and condemn the decision of the Central government.
With all opposition parties demanding the resignation of Sawant accusing him of compromising the interests of Goa to benefit his party in the Karnataka elections, the BJP has opposed the move of its own government at the Centre and has announced to start a signature campaign to pressurise its leaders.
However, the opposition has mocked the move of BJP pointing out that the Signature Campaign should be started by people and not the BJP, who according to them should use its influence to withdraw the DPR approval.
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Goan Party, which has one MLA in the 40-member state legislative Assembly, has announced a public meeting on Sunday in the capital Panjim. RGP block units across Goa have appealed to the locals to join for the meeting on Sunday and show their love towards Mhadei.
RGP MLA Viresh Borkar has also demanded the state government to constitute ‘House Committee’ over the Mhadei issue.
In the past a mammoth crowd has been witnessed at the public meetings organised by the RGP on several issues. According to sources for the meeting organised on Sunday thousands of people may gather.
All the opposition parties in Goa have lambasted the ruling BJP for the decision taken by the Centre.
Reacting to the ‘Mhadei Water Diversion’ issue, Trinamool Congress’ Goa in-charge Kirti Azad has said that the ruling BJP government has failed to give a solution and if the river’s natural flow is stopped, then the coastal state will witness drought.
He said that there are rules and regulations of the water tribunal that any river passing through a state, then a certain amount of water should be released.
“Now if it is coming from Karnataka and going to the Arabian Sea (Goa) is a natural process of this river, hence the amount of cusec required for Goa should be duly given to Goa. Natural processes should not be disturbed. How can one stop this natural process?” Azad questioned. Criticising the state’s BJP government, he said that in Goa nobody was doing anything.
The Trinamool Congress Goa unit going aggressively has said that ‘agitation’ is the only option to save Mhadei from getting diverted as the state government has failed on all aspects.
Recently, a Trinamool Congress delegation called on Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and demanded to withdraw the approval given to Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Karnataka for the disputed Kalsa-Bhanduri dam project. The Trinamool delegation submitted a memorandum to the Governor in regards to protecting river Mhadei.
Trinamool convener Samil Volvoikar has said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant should step down as he has failed to resolve the issue. “He is head of the state, if he can’t save Mhadei then he should step down,” Volvoikar said.
While BJP’s senior leader and Union Minister of State for Tourism and Ports Shripad Naik has said that he has no problem to think on tendering resignation if the Central government fails to withdraw the approval granted to Karnataka’s ‘Detailed Project Report’ for Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala projects.
Naik, whose home state is Goa, said that the dream of Karnataka to divert water to Malaprabha basin has been brought to reality by the Central Water Commission (CWC), which he termed as a ‘sad’ thing.
Environmentalists have expressed fear that water diversion would lead to heightened salinity in the Mhadei. This would also cause ecological imbalance with the wildlife suffering.
Goa and Karnataka have been battling over the Kalsa-Bhanduri dam project across the Mhadei river before a Central tribunal. The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji.
While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it has a length of 81.2 km in Goa.
Karnataka plans to construct dams on the river, aimed at diverting the waters into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in north Karnataka.