Amidst heightened protests and politicking, the Mahadayi water sharing dispute has taken a new turn. Goa’s Water Resources Minister - Vinod Palienkar on Wednesday dismissed Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s letter to BJP’s Karnataka President BS Yeddyurappa.
The Minister called Parrikar’’s letter a “political stunt” and that the Goa government would “not share a drop of water from the Mandovi river”.
“I have already made my stand clear. Whatever he (Parrikar) has written, he has not sent it to me. You can ask him. If he has sent a letter to Karnataka BJP chief, I can only say that it must be a political stunt. We will not make any compromise and will not give a drop of water to Karnataka. I do not want comment anymore,” Palienkar told the media.
However, Senior Counsel and Additional Solicitor-General of India, Atmaram Nadkarni, who is representing Goa at the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, said that the state government has issued a statement before the tribunal that if Karnataka wants drinking water within the basin, then it would not object.
“The state (Goa) has no problem in providing 0.1 TMC of water to Karnataka, as recorded before the tribunal. The main contention is the eight dams and trans basin water diversion projects proposed by Karnataka on this river. If Karnataka constructs those dams, then Goa will not get a single drop of water. The requirement of Karnataka is not 7.5 tmcft. for drinking, it is much less,” Nadkarni told the media.
With farmers protesting in several districts of north Karnataka, BJP national president Amit Shah, Parrikar, and Yeddyurappa held a meeting in New Delhi to discuss the issue. Parrikar had written a letter to Yeddyurappa, where he had agreed to consider Karnataka’s demand on humanitarian grounds.
However, the Goa government’s alliance partners are against releasing water to Karnataka. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party has also demanded a status quo on the dispute till the tribunal ruling is out.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Yuva Manch has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asking him to not sit down for talks with Karnataka until the border dispute with Belagavi was resolved.
Maharashtra has contested that since a majority of the population in Belagavi are Marathi-speakers, the district must become a part of Maharashtra.