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Goa assembly passes unanimous resolution, slams K'taka over Kalasa-Banduri project

'The Union government has weaponised the Mahadayi issue and is now using it as a political weapon,' the Congress leader said
Last Updated : 20 January 2023, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 20 January 2023, 17:21 IST

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After days of soaking criticism from the opposition over the central nod to Karnataka's detailed project report (DPR) related to the Kalasa-Banduri project along the Mahadayi river, the state assembly after a several hour-long discussion which ended late on Thursday unanimously resolved to object to “any attempt of out-of-basin diversion of water from the Mahadayi/Mhadei river-basin”.

The resolution was passed late on Thursday night after a six-hour discussion on the subject which also led to the expulsion of one opposition legislator, Viresh Borkar and the Revolutionary Goands party during the discussion, in which nearly every member of the state assembly spoke on the contentious issue.

While the leader of the Congress legislature party Yuri Alemao accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to play politics over the interstate river water sharing issue, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the state assembly that he had demanded that the central government set up a Mahadayi Water Management Authority for fair implementation of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal's award.

“The Union government has weaponised the Mahadayi issue and is now using it as a political weapon,” Alemao said, while also slamming former Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar of damaging Goa's position in the dispute in 2018, ahead of the Karnataka state polls, when he wrote to B S Yeddyurappa, who was then a senior BJP leader and not chief minister of the Southern state that he would not object to Karnataka's demand for drinking water from the Mahadayi river.

Sawant however dismissed Alemao's claim, adding that his government was doing all it can to lobby with the Centre for fair implementation of the Tribunal's award.

“We have demanded that the Union government immediately constitute the Mahadayi Water Management Authority, which -- as directed by the Tribunal in its award -- will be tasked with monitoring the implementation of the award. We have also sought that the Authority be headquartered in Goa,” the Chief Minister said.

“We will oppose the diversion of water from Mahadayi basin, we are firm on it. We will urge the central government for an immediate constitution of the Mhadei Water Management Authority as given in the award and also urged for the withdrawal of the DPR sanctioned by the Central Water Commission," the unanimously passed resolution said.

“They (Karnataka) may be watching us to check whether we are fighting. Instead of making allegations and counter-allegations, we should make a strategy to fight this battle, politically, technically and even legally... Perhaps it may be an election agenda for Karnataka. But for us it is not a political battle. For us it is a battle of existence. If water stops coming to Goa then it will affect the state and our identity. Definitely it will affect. Hence we need to unite on this issue and should not make it a political battle,” Sawant told the state assembly.

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Published 20 January 2023, 17:21 IST

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