Goa promises to soften stand on Mahadayi row

Goa promises to soften stand on Mahadayi row
The Mahadayi river water dispute between Karnataka and Goa is likely to be resolved soon with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said to have softened his stand on the issue. Parrikar on Wednesday is learnt to have promised to consider Karnataka's request to allow it to draw a certain quantity of water from the river to feed parched areas of the North Karnataka region.

At a meeting hosted by BJP national president Amit Shah at his residence in Delhi,   Parrikar and Karnataka BJP leaders, including state unit president B S Yeddyurappa, discussed the issue in detail.

At the meeting, Parrikar, who is heading the BJP-ruled state, reportedly promised to consider the state BJP leaders' request not to oppose the project on humanitarian grounds.

The project involved drawing of 7.5 tmc ft of water from Mahadayi to supply drinking water to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and surrounding areas and irrigate parts of Belagavi and Gadag districts.

Emerging out of the more than two-hour-long meeting, Yeddyurappa told reporters that Parrikar promised to consider the state's plea and will reveal his decision after discussing it with his Cabinet colleagues at Panaji on Thursday.

Yeddyurappa also said that after Parrikar announces his decision, he would make public the details of the talks at a proposed party workers' rally in Hubballi on Thursday.

At the meeting, Union Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar, BJP Karnataka in-charge Piyush Goyal, Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, Hubballi-Dharwad MP Prahalad Joshi, BJP Karnataka in-charge general secretary Muralidhar Rao and Karnataka Assembly Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar were present.

Parrikar's assurance of softening his stand on the issue is termed as a big boost to the BJP ahead of the Karnataka Assembly polls. The saffron party has been facing criticism from its political opponents and public of north Karnataka region for not helping resolve the long-pending dispute though the party is at helm both in Goa and the Centre.

Mahadayi or the Kalasa-Banduri project involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of the Mahadayi in the Western Ghats region of Belagavi district, to divert 7.56 tmc ft of water to the Malaprabha river.

Though the Centre cleared the project in 2002, it was stalled after Goa raised objections saying it would dry up its lifeline, the Mandovi River, called Mahadayi in Karnataka.

To share the river water among basin states - Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra - the Union Ministry of Water Resources had constituted the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal. The tribunal, in its interim order, rejected Karnataka's plea to utilise 7 tmc feet of water and suggested resolving the issue amicably.

People in north Karnataka have been holding protests seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mediation to resolve the issue while the Karnataka government has been demanding that the PM call a meeting of the states invovled.  

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