Open to out-of-tribunal settlement on Mahadayi dispute: Goa

first_imgMarking a clear departure from its stand against any out-of-court settlement in the long simmering Mahadayi water dispute with Karnataka, the Goa Minister for Water Resources, Vinod Palyekar, said on Thursday they were open to talks with Karnataka and Maharashtra to explore an out-of-tribunal settlement.He was replying to a question by The Hindu on the state government’s response to Karnataka Chief Minister’s letter requesting the Goa Chief Minister to come for talks to which Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis has also given support.Mr. Palyekar said that once Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar returns from U.S. on Friday, he will discuss the issue with him. When asked what made Goa government change its “very rigid stance” of sticking to tribunal verdict only, Mr. Palyekar, who represents the Goa Forward Party in the BJP-led coalition government in the state, remarked that all three States have been spending huge money over the dispute and the legal battle has been on for long. It would be in the fitness of things to explore an amicable solution, he said.When asked whether Goa would change its earlier stand that it will not allow one drop of water to Karnataka beyond what the tribunal accepted, as a precursor to talks for an out-of-court settlement, Mr. Palyekar said that Goa has only Mahadayi as its main source of water as against Karnataka which has many such sources. Therefore, he would not like to commit anything at this stage.“But they have some other suggestions, what is the harm in discussing and talking to find if some solution emerges which will not adversely affect us and at the same time will have something for them as well?” asked Mr. Palyekar.Mr. Palyekar said he had recently met Karnataka Minister for Water Resources M.B. Patil at a function in Karnataka where the latter broached the water dispute issue and indicated that they have some proposals like building power plants in joint association with Goa.“At least it is my personal view that it would be advisable for all the three States as well as for the country if we can sort out our issues through talks. It would save money as well as time and energy,” he said.When asked about the strong pressure exerted by environmentalists and civil society that with the tribunal expected to give its verdict next month before the expiry of its term, any deviation by the Goa government would compromise it’s interest, the Minister said that his view was that “talks is an option to negotiate and discuss issues, to have a give and take, to reduce the differences and to come to a solution where, as long as Goa’s interest is not compromised, there should not be any problem.”“I am of the opinion that it would be a better option to work for an out-of-court settlement by agreeing to discuss the issue. That is what I will tell the Chief Minister,” Mr. Palyekar reiterated.“We have made it clear that Goa cannot release water. But if they have some other suggestions, why not hear them and try and see of some solution can come out,” he said. asked the Minister when asked Goa has taken firm stand over some works continued by Karnataka despite tribunal order to the contrary.Goa and Karnataka are battling out the long simmering dispute over the latter’s controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam projects across the Mahadayi, which is known as the Mandovi river once it enters Goa. Considered the lifeline in the northern parts of the state, it originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji. While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, its major length of 81.2 km is in Goa. Karnataka plans to construct seven dams on the river, aimed at diverting the waters into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in North Karnataka. Goa has opposed any plans of Karnataka to divert waters from one basin to another. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, whose earlier attempts to get previous BJP Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to come for talks for an out-of-court settlement failed, has written to Mr. Parrikar on Wednesday asking him to agree to a joint meeting with their Maharashtra counterpart in order to find an ‘out of court’ and amicable resolution to the Mahadayi water dispute issue.last_img

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