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Goa govt faces heat over Mhadei issue

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Panaji, Jan 28 (IANS) Amid accusations from the Opposition, Goa’s Water Resources Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues on Thursday said his government has left no stone unturned to protect the state’s interest in its ongoing Mhadei water issue with Karnataka.

Rodrigues was responding during a heated discussion on the Mhadei dispute, after a calling attention motion was jointly moved by Opposition MLAs, which accused the BJP-led coalition government of being lethargic while dealing with Karnataka’s attempts to divert river water which is in violation of the Supreme Court’s directives.

“The government is determined to protect its future water security in the Mhadei basin by forestalling all the water diversion from the basin. These efforts will also ensure protection of the basin ecology,” Rodrigues said in his reply during the ongoing winter session of the State Legislative Assembly.

“Goa has vigorously and single-mindedly explored all avenues, legal and administrative to safeguard its legitimate interests in the Mhadei 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,” the Minister said.

Rodrigues also said that the Goa government had taken “appropriate legal and administrative action” on alleged “violations of the Tribunal and Supreme Court’s orders” by Karnataka.

Earlier during the discussion, the Opposition MLAs in unison had accused Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and the BJP-led coalition government of selling out Goa’s interests to Karnataka in course of the dispute.

“You all have sold Mhadei this is my charge. Water is already diverted. People are being misled,” former Deputy Chief Minister and Opposition MLA Vijai Sardesai said.

Another Opposition MLA Rohan Khaunte also questioned Sawant’s incompetency to safeguard Goa’s interests even as the BJP leads in the Centre.

Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat also flagged the Goa government’s failure in objecting to the Supreme Court’s directive to the central government in 2019 to notify the award of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal to which Goa has already made an appeal.

“When Karnataka 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 questioned.




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