Karnataka's attempt to have an out of court settlement of the inter-state Mahadayi river water dispute has received a setback with the Goa government rejecting the proposal.
In response to Karnataka's request, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said, "The people of my state feel it is more prudent to settle the dispute through the Tribunal as provided in the ISWD Act, 1956."
"Specially as the case is proceeding at a fast pace in the Tribunal and it would not be appropriate to hold a dialogue on the issue at this stage when the matter is sub-judice before Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal," he said in a letter to his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah.
Karnataka government had communicated to Goa in December regarding deputing a delegation to discuss about finding an amicable solution to the Mahadayi issue.
There is continued protest in parts of north Karnataka demanding implementation of Kalasa-Banduri canal project, over which the state government has locked horns with neighbouring Goa.
The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, which will utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi river, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi river, in order to divert 7.56 TMC to Malaprabha river which adhers to the drinking water needs of the twin cities.
Meanwhile in a letter to the state government, Union Water Resource Minister Uma Bharati has declined intervention by her Ministry as the matter is before the tribunal.
"The matter is pending before the Hon'ble Tribunal. As such, any intervention by this Ministry at this juncture would be inappropriate," she has said in a letter to Siddaramaiah in response to the state government's memorandum submitted in August.
"During the pendency of any matter before the Hon'ble Tribunal, the process of negotiation can be initiated if all parties before the Hon'ble Tribunal are willing for the same.
However, at present there is no such proposal from the State of Goa and Maharashtra," she added.
Both the letters were released to the media here on Saturday.
Responding to the development, Karnataka water resources Minister M B Patil said it was "unfortunate".
The protest has intensified since an all-party delegation led by Siddaramaiah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year which turned out to be "inconclusive."