Panaji, Sep 9 (IANS) The Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Goa should meet to find a negotiated settlement to the Mhadei water dispute, Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi said, here on Monday, prompting the Congress to state that once the tribunal had announced its award, there was no question of negotiating a settlement.
“I can only suggest that the Chief Minister should talk out a solution. The matter has already been to the tribunal and it has given its award. But a negotiated settlement will be a better solution,” Joshi said.
Joshi, MP from the Dharwad Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka, rejected statements by top Goa officials as well as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant that Karnataka was violating the Mhadei water dispute tribunal’s award by carrying out construction to divert water from the river basin. The river is known as Mandovi in Goa.
The Minister is in Goa as part of a nationwide publicity blitz to celebrate 100 days of the National Democratic Alliance government in power.
“I think both the governments are unhappy with the tribunal order and have also challenged it in the court. That’s why I have requested Karnataka and Goa Chief Ministers to have a negotiated settlement,” Joshi said.
Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat has, however, questioned the suggestion made by Joshi. “As far as the Mhadei Tribunal is concerned, there is an award. I don’t know what is the meaning of talking or a negotiated settlement,” Kamat, a former Chief Minister, said.
The Mhadei river is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of Goa. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea near Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
The Mhadei tribunal after hearing the over two-decade-old dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra had in August 2018 allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet TMC) from the Mhadei river basin (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka. Maharashtra has been allotted 1.33 TMC.