In the run-up to a meeting with CMs of Maharashtra and Goa for resolution of the Mahadayi river dispute, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has convened an all-party meeting on October 19, two days before the CMs meet. The three states have agreed to hold negotiations to resolve water sharing issues based on a suggestion made by Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal in July.
The matter was taken to the the tribunal by Goa after Karnataka in 2006 began work on the Kalasa-Banduri canal system to divert water from Mahadayi tributaries for drinking water purposes in north Karnataka. Karnataka wants 7.56 TMC of water from Mahadayi river to meet demands for drinking water in the northern districts of Belgaum, Dharwad, Gadag and Bagalkot.
Goa argued before the tribunal that the project would cause immense ecological damage in the state, since the river supports the fragile ecosystem in areas protected for wildlife.
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In an interim order on July 27, the tribunal rejected Karnataka’s plea for usage of 7.56 TMC of water from the river. It, however, suggested a resolution of the matter through negotiations among the three riparian states.
Based on the tribunal’s suggestion, Karnataka’s Congress CM on September 5 wrote to the BJP CMs of Goa and Maharashtra, seeking cooperation in holding talks on the issue. While Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis agreed to host the meeting, Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar held an all-party meet earlier this week and decided to attend the CMs’ meet.
Karnataka’s Congress government has been rallying support for Mahadayi water for north Karnataka, which is seen as a BJP stronghold. The region witnessed a protest last year by farmers demanding implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri project.
“The agitation by the farmers, which has been peaceful so far, might escalate….In view of the evolving dire situation, I request you once again to consider convening an inter-state meeting of all three riparian states at the earliest,’’ Siddaramaiah had said in a letter to PM Narendra Modi in August.