Panaji, Dec 13 (IANS) Three days before the Congress is scheduled to stage a dharna in the national capital over the Union Environment Ministry’s nod to Karnataka’s Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project, Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lobbied for the coastal state’s case in the inter-state dispute over the waters of Mhadei river.
A statement issued on Friday by the Goa government’s Information and Publicity department also said that Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar also gave a telephonic assurance to Malik, assuring the latter of a favourable decision in a couple of days.
“Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik called on PM Narendra Modi during his visit to New Delhi and took up the issue of Mhadei water dispute especially the environmental clearance given to Kalasa-Banduri water project of Karnataka by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,” the official statement issued on Friday said.A
“Governor emphasised upon the importance of Mhadei water to the State of Goa, it being the lifeline of the people of Goa. The Prime Minister gave due assurance to the Governor that the issue will be resolved shortly,” the statement said.
The communique also stated that soon after the meeting with the Prime Minister, Javadekar spoke to Malik “telephonically conveyed to Governor that a positive solution would be arrived in a day or two”.
The Governor’s meeting with Modi on Thursday comes three days before the main opposition party in Goa, the Congress, is scheduled to stage a dharna at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to draw the attention of the central government towards the “injustice meted to a small state like Goa” in its inter-state water dispute against Karnataka.
The MoEF’s letter to Karnataka government in October this year, giving the latter a green nod to the Rs 841 crore project, has been objected to by Goa, which has said in a letter to the central ministry that diversion of Mhadei river water with the help of the Kalasa-Banduri project, 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-old 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.
Karnataka as well as Goa have filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court challenging the contents of the tribunal’s order. Goa has also accused Karnataka of already diverting the Mhadei river water without the formal notification of the tribunal’s award by the central government.