Two months after offering to discuss sharing of drinking water from the Mhadei river to Karnataka on humanitarian grounds, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said that only the interstate Water Dispute Tribunal appointed by the Central government will decide on the water-sharing issue.
Speaking to reporters at the State Secretariat, he also held all other discussion on the issue was only of “academic interest”.
“The discussion is only for purpose of academic interest. We are fighting the case very well in the Tribunal. Why do you need answers on every issue? If the Tribunal is deciding, let the Tribunal decide,” Parrikar said, when asked to comment on the Mahadayi issue.
Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently involved in a dispute in the tribunal over controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across Mahadayi river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mhadei basin to nearby basin on the Malaprabha river.
Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river, originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
The river course is 28.8 km in Karnataka, and over 50 km in Goa.
Parrikar’s offer of discussion, in a letter to Karnataka BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa in December, ttracted sharp criticism from his own cabinet colleagues as well as the Opposition and civil society groups who accused the Goa Chief Minister of selling out on the state’s natural resources only to help the Bharatiya Janata Party, ahead of the Karnataka assembly polls.