Karnataka, Maharashtra agree on 'feasible' water projects

Karnataka and Maharashtra have agreed in principle to ink a pact to implement feasible inter-state water projects and help farmers in both the states.

A meeting of elected representatives of the two states was organised here on Tuesday at Kanakavli in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district, which acts as a border to the Mahadayai riparian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. The meeting was organised by nonprofits under the leadership of water conservationist Rajendra Singh. While Karnataka’s Water Resources Minister M B Patil and Maharashtra’s Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Babanrao Lonikar attended the meeting, the Goa government didn’t send any of its representative.

Patil, along with Dharwad district in-charge minister Vinay Kulkarni, agreed with Lonikar’s suggestion for a win-win solution that benefits farmers of both the states. They also took oath in farmers’ name, saying they were committed to solving their problems.

Kulkarni and Lonikar stressed co-operation and co-ordination from both the governments to protect farmers’ interests. They said both the governments would implement water projects that were environmentally feasible and economically viable. They would have talks in this regard and take a final decision.

Kulkarni said the drinking water problem had crippled the normal life in northern Karnataka, especially rural areas. The Karnataka government is ready for talks with Maharashtra and Goa governments, he added. Singh said there was an urgent need to study the flow of water in all the three states to find out a solution to the problem.

If the governments procrastinate, inter-state civil wars would take place, he warned. He also offered to invite the chief ministers of all the three states and take their consent for implementation of the water project. MLAs B R Yavagal, Ashok Kheny, N H Kon­a­r­addi, MLC Basangouda Patil Yatnal, MP Prakash Hukkeri and Basavajaya Mrutyunjaya Swami of Lingayat Panchamsali Mutt, Kudala­sangama, were among those present.

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