Bengaluru: The Goa Government has unanimously passed a resolution urging the Union government to withdraw the Detailed Project Report (DPR) sanctioned by the Central Water Commission, immediate constitution of the Mhadei Water Management Authority and oppose the diversion of water from Mhadei basin.
During the discussion on ‘Mhadei Diversion’ resolution on the last day of the Assembly session on Thursday January 19, it also constituted the ‘House Committee’ headed by the Goa Water Resources Minister Subhash Shirodkar.
“We will oppose the diversion of water from Mhadei basin, we are firm on it. We will urge the Central Government for an immediate constitution of the Mhadei Water Management Authority as given in the award and also urged for the withdrawal of the DPR sanctioned by CWC,” Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, while reading out the resolution.
“They (Karnataka) may be watching us to check whether we are fighting. Instead of making allegations and counter allegations, we should make a strategy to fight this battle, politically, technically and even legally,” Sawant added.
“Perhaps it may be an election agenda for Karnataka. But for us it is not a political battle. For us it is a battle of existence. If water stops coming to Goa then it will affect the state and our identity. Definitely it will affect. Hence we need to unite on this issue and should not make it a political battle,” he said.
Sawant also added that a House Committee under the leadership of the state Water Resources Minister will be constituted.
“I am committed to follow-up on the resolution, which would be sent to the Central government,” he said.
Participating in the discussion, the Opposition benches attacked the Treasury bench stating the ‘Double-engine failed’ and they have compromised Mhadei to benefit the BJP in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly election. However, most of the ruling BJP MLAs urged the Opposition to unite over the issue and fight the battle of Mhadei together.
The Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said that the Chief Minister is not talking about whether “double-engine” is betrayal or whether it will function (to protect Goa’s interest).
“DPR has to be withdrawn and the Chief Minister has to take responsibility for it. If he can’t then he should step down. He should go to his Central leadership and withdraw the DPR,” Sardesai added.
“We want serious and time-bound action and for that purpose we are with you. If you are not taking this seriously then resolution is ‘nothing’. It can’t be indefinite. It is a serious issue of identity and should have accountability and must be resolved in a time-bound manner,” he said.
He alleged that the state BJP leadership had consented for the DPR and hence it was notified by the Centre.
“I am not afraid to tell you this,” he added.
However, Chief Minister Sawant rejected the allegations, saying nothing such had happened.
Goa and Karnataka are currently battling out a dispute over the Kalasa-Bhanduri dam project across the water of Mhadei river at a central tribunal.
Mhadei originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji.
While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is 81.2-km in length in Goa. Karnataka plans to construct dams on the river, aimed at diverting the water into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in north Karnataka.