Panaji, Dec 17 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will meet the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central leadership and Union Ministers over the stand-off between Goa and Karnataka over the Mhadei river water and to seek withdrawal of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ nod to the Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project.
“I am heading to Delhi with regards to the Mhadei issue,” Sawant told reporters at the Secretariat.
According to the government sources, Sawant is scheduled to meet top party leaders, including working president J.P. Nadda, and Ministers to lobby for Goa’s case in the dispute.
Goa Congress leaders on Sunday had staged a dharna at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar accusing the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of “politically victimising” Goa and favouring Karnataka in the dispute.
Goa and Karnataka are locked in a decade-long dispute over sharing of Mhadei river waters. The dispute intensified when two months before the Karnataka Assembly by-elections, the Environment Ministry gave its nod to Karnataka’s Rs 841 crore Kalasa-Banduri dam project.
The Goa government is opposed to the project, which aims to divert water from the Mhadei river basin to the water-deficit Malaprabha river basin, ostensibly for drinking water purpose.
The Goa government has insisted that the Environment Ministry’s decision was illegal and the diversion would cause “ecological devastation” in Goa.
The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea near Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra. An inter-state water disputes tribunal, set up by the central government, after hearing the over two-decade Mhadei river water sharing dispute among Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, in August 2018 allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka and 1.33 TMC to Maharashtra.