PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has welcomed the union cabinet’s decision to approve the creation of Mhadei PRAWAH (Mhadei Water Authority).
However, the opposition called it a gimmick to divert attention.
“I thank the Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for approving the establishment of the PRAWAH in the cabinet meeting. This has been one of our primary demands, and we wholeheartedly welcome the decision,” Sawant said.
Sawant said that the establishment of the authority will help in preventing the illegal diversion of water. “It also reaffirms the fact that the Centre will not allow any injustice on Goa,” he said.
Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had tweeted “PM Sh. @narendramodi led cabinet today has approved the creation of Mahadayi PRAWAH. This will enable the compliance and implementation of the award & decisions of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal.”
“It will also aid in building mutual trust and understanding among party states Goa, Karnataka & Maharashtra thereby ensuring the right use of water resources of this region for its overall development.”Shekhawat further said.
However, Congress Goa chief Amit Patkar reacting to the new development, said that it is a move of the BJP to give all powers to authority controlled by the central government.
“With the creation of Mhadei PRAWAH Authority, this BJP government is only willing to give all powers and control to an Authority controlled by the Central government, where every Goan will suffer, and they will sell and destroy our state sitting in Delhi,” Patkar said.
“By this move, the Goa government has accepted that there will be an illegal diversion of Mhadei and the setting up of Authority is a farce only meant to deviate, Goans who are trying to stop the diversion,” Patkar said.
Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said that while Karnataka is diverting water from Mhadei, the central government is diverting attention. “Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is complicit in both. No Mhadei Water Authority will distract us from our non-negotiable demand. Government should withdraw permission given to the Detailed Project Report of Karnataka. All else you do is a smokescreen designed to buy time and delay justice to Goa,” Sardesai said.
Ever since Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that the Centre has cleared the much-disputed Kalasa-Banduri dam project in his state, people have started holding public meetings against the Central government’s decision.
Goa and Karnataka are currently battling a dispute over the Kalasa-Banduri dam project across the water of Mhadei river at a central tribunal.
Mhadei originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji.
While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is 81.2 km long in Goa.
Karnataka plans to construct dams on the river to divert the water into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in North Karnataka.