Mahadayi dispute: Goa CM Centre's puppet, says Khaunte

Mahadayi dispute: Goa CM Centre's puppet, says Khaunte

Independent MLA and former Goa minister Rohan Khaunte on Saturday accused Chief Minister Pramod Sawant of being a "puppet of the Centre" and failing to protect the interests of the state in the Mahadayi water dispute with neighbouring Karnataka.

Khaunte hit out at Sawant against the backdrop of a letter written by the Union environment ministry on December 24 to Karnataka stating that environment clearance was not required for the Kalsa Bhanduri project on Mahadayi.

Goa and Karnataka are embroiled in a dispute on sharing of Mahadayi river water, and the former has been opposing the latter's Kalsa Bhanduri project.

Khaunte was a minister under Sawant but was sacked in July this year after ten Congress MLAs joined the BJP and gave the saffron party a majority in the 40-member Assembly.

"Chief Minister Sawant is a puppet defending every decision of the Centre on Mahadayi. It looks like he was part of the Centre's game-plan to divert Mahadayi water," Khaunte, MLA from Porvorim, claimed.

He said Sawant should either step down or join those who are opposing the Centre's nod to Karnataka on the Kalsa Bhanduri project.