Will go against MoEFCC: Goa CM on Mahadayi dispute

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. (DH Photo)

Goa's BJP Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday said his government, "if required", would go against the NDA-led Union Environment ministry in the Mahadayi River issue.

The belligerence comes after the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on December 24 wrote to Karnataka stating environment clearance (EC) was not required for its Kalsa-Bhanduri drinking water project on Mahadayi river.

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

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting in Porovorim on Friday, Sawant said, "The case regarding Mahadayi river water diversion is pending before Supreme Court. I would like to categorically state that Goans need not be worried. If required, we will also go against the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change."

Sawant has called a high-level meeting later during the day to chalk out future course of action on the issue.

"The Goa government will also write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the matter," he said.

Sawant hit back at Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat for suggesting a one-day session of the Goa Assembly, and said, "those who allowed (Mahadayi) water to be diverted have no moral ground to tell government how to act on the issue".

The CM said, during Kamat's tenure as chief minister (2007-2012), Karnataka managed to divert Mahadayi river water, but the latter "did nothing to stop them".

Sawant claimed his government has got approval to construct six dams on Mahadayi, work on which would be expedited.

Meanwhile, Progressive Front of Goa (PFG) demanded that the state government be dismissed and Governor's Rule be imposed.

PFG is an umbrella organisation of political parties like Goa Forward Party and Shiv Sena and has been protesting against the Goa government's "inefficiency" to protect the state's interests on the Mahadayi river.

"We have given a deadline of 48 hours for the Chief Minister to resign. The deadline expires on December 28. After that, we will protest at all functions where Sawant is present," PFG leader Hrudaynath Shirodkar told reporters in Panaji on Friday.

"We demand that the Goa Assembly be dissolved, and Governor's Rule should be imposed," he said, adding that Governor Satya Pal Malik had "successfully taken up" the issue with PM Modi earlier.

Shirodkar hit out at the Centre for its letter to Karnataka even when the Mahadayi river matter was pending in the Supreme Court.

He said the PFG's protest on the issue on December 31 would be peaceful. 

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