Goa willing to consider amicable solution: Parrikar

Earlier Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal rejected state's plea

Prime News, State (Bengaluru), December 22:-Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said his government is willing to consider an amicable settlement with Karnataka on sharing inter-state Mahadayi river water to meet the drinking needs of drought prone areas in northern parts of the state.

Parrikar said, in principle, Goa would not oppose the “reasonable” and “justified” quantum of water meant to be utilised for drinking while pointing out that the matter is pending before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.

However, the same needs to be discussed bilaterally as suggested by the tribunal, he said.

Parrikar stated this in a letter to Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Yeddyurappa, who read it out at a public rally at Hubbali held as part of BJP’s ongoing statewide “Parivarthana Yatra” to “expose misdeeds” of the congress government.

Parikkar was responding to a letter by Yeddyurappa who had led a team and met him in the presence of party president Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss finding a resolution to the Mahadayi issue.

Wednesday’s meeting mediated by Shah and developments that have followed to resolve the dispute comes at a time when Karnataka is gearing for assembly polls early next year.

Yeddyurappa’s move is seen as an attempt to protect BJP’s interest during the assembly polls.

The Congress and JDS have been seeking to corner BJP, accusing its government in Goa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not being sympathetic to the state’s drinking water needs.

Karnataka is seeking release of 7.56 tmcft water by Goa from the river for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project, being undertaken to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and districts of Belagavi and Gadag in the state’s northern region.

Parrikar said his government understands that access to drinking water is a basic human need.

On “humanitarian ground”, Goa government is willing to consider the request to work out an amicable settlement strictly restricted to drinking water only to drought prone areas, he said.

Parrikar said the discussion shall be without prejudice to Goa’s rights and contentions before the tribunal, none of which are even touched by the letter.

Earlier, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dubbed the BJP’s efforts to resolve the Mahadayi river issue as a “political gimmick” ahead of assembly elections in the state.

Questioning as to how Yeddyurappa can make an announcement on the matter, he said either Goa Chief Minister has to communicate to the state government any decision taken by them or they have to submit an affidavit informing the tribunal, which is seized of the issue.

“Who is Yeddyurappa to make the announcement…this is just a political gimmick keeping in mind the assembly elections, due early next year, the chief minister said.

Siddaramaiah said he welcomed any attempt to resolve the issue and was ready to participate if the prime minister calls a meeting of chief ministers of all three riparian states, Maharashtra being the other to resolve the issue.

The Karnataka government had earlier petitioned the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal which in its July 27 last year interim order rejected the state’s plea.

Challenging this, the state government has filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court.

The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi River, to divert 7.56 tmcft to the Malaprabha River which supplies the drinking water needs of the region.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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