Insight Online News
Panaji, July 28 : Goa Water Resources Minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues told the state Assembly on Wednesday that former Goa Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar’s letter to then Karnataka BJP President B.S. Yediyurappa in 2018, offering water from the Mhadei river for drinking purposes, was not approved by his cabinet during that time.
Rodrigues was cornered with the opposition Congress accusing the current state government led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant of not doing enough to protect the state’s interest in the river water dispute with Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The minister admitted that Parrikar’s letter to Yediyurappa had no approval from the former’s cabinet.
“No, there was no cabinet approval,” Rodrigues said, reacting to a question raised by the Leader of Opposition, Digambar Kamat.
Ahead of the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections, Parrikar had written a letter to BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa, saying that Goa was willing to consider Karnataka’s request for drawing drinking water from the Mhadei river basin “on humanitarian grounds”.
Rodrigues also said that Karnataka is illegally diverting water from the Mhadei river basin, adding that most of the river water is diverted during the monsoons when the natural flow of the river is at its peak. He, however, said the Goa government is unable to quantify the amount of water diverted by Karnataka.
Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are battling out a two-decade-long dispute over sharing of the Mhadei river water in the Supreme Court, after both parties — Goa and Karnataka — expressed reservations about the award by the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal in 2018.
Goa has opposed the diversion of water from the Mhadei river basin through the Kalasa-Bhanduri project, claiming that it would cause “ecological devastation” in the state.
Last month, the Goa government had filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against the Karnataka government for illegal diversion of water from the Mhadei river.
Both the states have already filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the award given by a Central government tribunal which allowed Karnataka to divert 13.42 TMC water from the river basin.
Mhadei, also known as Mandovi in Goa and Mahadayi in Karnataka, is considered as a lifeline in the northern parts of the coastal state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea at Panaji in Goa while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
IANS / AGENCY