The Congress has termed the Goa government’s openness for bilateral talks with Karnataka over the diversion of Mahadeyi river water as an “anti-Goa” move.
Congress’ Goa Chief Shantaram Naik in a press conference here today stated that the reason for Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to take such an “anti-Goa” and “anti-Goan” decision on Mahadeyi water was to win the Karnataka elections. “Manohar Parrikar has gone against the interest of Goa and Goemkars (Goans) by taking a decision to allow Karnataka to lift water of the Mahadeyi when the matter is pending before the Mahadeyi Water Tribunal,” Naik said.
“The stand taken by Parrikar that in principle Goa would not oppose reasonable and justifiable quantum of drinking water to Karnataka from the Mahadeyi river on humanitarian grounds is unrealistic. It will prove harmful for Goa’s claim placed before the tribunal,” Naik added. Naik alleged that Karnataka is full of underutilized drinking water sources like the tributary of the river Malaprabha near Hubli which has a catchment area of 5048 square kilometres.
“Unfortunately, this water is hardly used to the extent of 1.5 TMC (thousand million cubic feet). Karnataka also has about 22 rivers in Belgaum unutilized,” he added. Naik said that considering the projected water needs of Goa till 2050, a committee of experts has stated that the Mahadeyi river is a water deficit basin and therefore has no scope for water diversion.
“No neighbouring state can divert the natural flow of rivers that are flowing in the direction of a wildlife sanctuary without obtaining permissions from the environment ministry and also from National Board of Wildlife Protection,” he added.