Panaji: The Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Goa should meet to find a negotiated settlement to the ongoing Mhadei water dispute, Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi said Monday.
Joshi, who has elected to Parliament from the Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka, also denied statements issued by top Goa government officials as well as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant that Karnataka was violating the Mhadei inter-state water dispute Tribunal’s award by carrying out construction work on canals, to divert water from the basin of the Mhadei river, also known as the Mandovi in Goa.
“I can only suggest at this moment, that concerned CMs can sit and talk and try to resolve the issue. The matter has already been to the Tribunal and it has given its award, but inspite of that negotiated settlement will be a better settlement,” Joshi told reporters here.
The Central minister is in Goa as part of a nationwide publicity blitz to celebrate 100 days of the National Democratic Alliance government in power.
“The Tribunal has given its order and I think both the governments are unhappy and they have challenged the award in the Supreme Court. That is why I have requested Karnataka Chief Minister and today, I request honourable Chief Minister of Goa to have a negotiated settlement,” Joshi said.
When asked about the position of the Goa government in the apex court, where it has alleged that Karnataka has been trying to build infrastructure to divert more water from Mhadei basin, Joshi said: “There is no question, because the matter is before the Tribunal and the award has been given. No government is allowed to violate any law of the land and nobody is doing that”.
The Mhadei, or Mandovi, river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of Goa. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
The Tribunal hearing the over two-decade old dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over Mhadei river water sharing had, in its award in August 2018, allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) from the Mhadei river basin (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka. Maharashtra has been allotted 1.33 TMC.