Goa Water Resources Minister defies Parrikar over Mhadei dispute

Mhadei river water dispute. Image credit: Maps of India

–TMC Desk

Panaji, Jan 4: Goa Water Resources Minister Vinod Palienkar on Thursday took on Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar over the Mhadei river dispute issue, asserting that he was firm on his stand not to release any water to neighbouring Karnataka.

“I have made my stand very clear on Mhadei river water. Once we take a stand on an issue we do not change it,” Palienkar told journalists here.

Ever since the controversy broke out last month, the Minister, a member of coalition partner Goa Forward party has been insisting that not a drop of water would be shared with Karnataka.

Palienkar had also called Parrikar’s letter to Karnataka BJP leader and former Chief Minister Yeddyurappa last month, offering to consider Karnataka’s demand for drinking water on humanitarian grounds as a “political stunt”.

His comment on Thursday came a day after Parrikar’s statement saying that those who believe that Karnataka can be denied water from the Mhadei river were living in fool’s paradise.

“If someone thinks that water cannot be taken by Karnataka, he is living in fool’s paradise. He doesn’t understand law. (If) a river flows through Karnataka, how can you deny water to them? But they cannot take the water to some other area. They have to drink it or they have to use it in that area,” Parrikar told reporters on Wednesday.

Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently fighting over the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the waters of the Mhadei river at a central tribunal.

Mhadei also known as the Mandovi river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of Karnataka, where it originates before draining into the sea at Panaji after a brief flowing through the territory of Maharashtra.

While the river runs 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is over 50 km in length in Goa.

Karnataka also aims to build seven dams at various points along the river, aimed with an objective to divert the flow into what it claims is the water-starved Malaprabha basin in north Karnataka.


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