Amid accusations from the Opposition that the Goa government had sold out to Karnataka in the ongoing Mahadayi water dispute, Goa’s Water Resources Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues on Thursday said that his government “vigorously and single-mindedly explored all avenues” to safeguard Goa’s interest in the ongoing dispute.
Replying to a Calling Attention Motion in the state legislative Assembly during the ongoing Winter Session, Rodrigues also said that appropriate “legal and administrative” action has been initiated into violation of the award of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal and the Supreme Court by Karnataka.
“Goa has vigorously and single-mindedly explored all avenues, legal and administrative to safeguard its legitimate interests in the Mahadayi basin. No efforts have been spared in pursuing its objectives. Constant vigil has been maintained to detect all instances of violation of the Tribunal’s award and other orders by Karnataka to initiate prompt legal and administrative action,” Rodrigues told the Goa legislative assembly.
“The government is determined to protect its future water security in the Mahadayi basin by forestalling all diversion of water from the Mahadayi basin. These efforts will also ensure protection of the basin ecology,” Rodrigues also said.
Earlier, a combined Opposition slammed the Sawant-led administration for “selling out” on the Mahadayi (Mhadei in Goa) issue.
“The Mahadayi is reduced to a gutter. You all have sold Mahadayi this is my charge. Water is already diverted. People are being misled,” former Deputy Chief Minister and Goa Forward party MLA Vijai Sardesai said during the discussion on the Calling Attention Motion moved jointly by Opposition MLAs.
Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat also questioned as to why the Goa government’s counsel in the Supreme Court did not object to the top court’s direction to the central government to notify the Tribunal’s award in 2019.
“When K'taka asked the SC to notify the award... it appears that we did not (object)... we should have actually objected to the notification. The judgement which is passed says that neither Goa nor Maharashtra has objected to that,” Kamat said.
Goa and Karnataka are battling out a two-decade-long dispute over the sharing of the Mahadayi river in the Supreme Court after both parties expressed reservations about the award by the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal in 2018.
Goa has also opposed the diversion of water from the Mahadayi river basin through the Kalasa-Bhanduri project claiming it would cause “ecological devastation” in Goa.