Herald: Seriously, isn’t Mhadei a matter of concern?
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Seriously, isn’t Mhadei a matter of concern?

31 Jan 2018 06:27am IST

Report by
SHWETA KAMAT

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31 Jan 2018 06:27am IST

Report by
SHWETA KAMAT

Leave a comment

After skipping special awareness meet, Goa MLAs give disputed Mhadei site a wide berth; In contrast, Karnataka government’s all party meeting receives good response.

PANJIM: Despite the seriousness of the inter-state Mhadei river water diversion, Goa’s lawmakers appear to be reluctant in joining the cause to save the waters of River Mhadei – the lifeline of Goa – from being diverted. This was plainly evident when just four MLAs turned up for the visit to Kankumbi – the disputed site – despite invitations being sent to all. 

While, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s absence raised eyebrows, even as the BJP stalwart was some 40 kilometers away from the site in Sattari taluka to wish his political rival and senior Congress leader Pratapsingh Rane on his birthday, Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar, who is otherwise active on the social media making public his stand on the Mhadei issue, also stayed away from the visit. 

After having skipped the special awareness meet held on January 22, on Sunday – January 28 – the elected representatives again showed their indifference to the issue. Ironically, during the same period, Karnataka Government’s call for an all party meeting to discuss the same issue, received a good response.

Of the 40 MLAs only four – three from the BJP and one Independent – visited the site along with some former MLAs and members of Mhadei Bachaco Abhiyan (MBA). No MLA from the coalition parties – Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party – were part of the visit, which was organised by Speaker Dr Pramod Sawant. 

“We had invited all 39 MLAs. We wanted to take stock of the situation and understand the issue. It is very unfortunate that only three attended,” Sawant, who was part of the visit, said. 

Present were Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo, BJP MLA Alina Saldanha and Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar, along with Sawant. 

Interestingly no Congress MLA was part of the team, thus raising questions about their stand on the issue. Congress, which is in power in Karnataka, has found itself in tight spot in Goa, as the party cadres in the neighbouring State have been seeking their support for diversion of water. 

When contacted, Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar preferred not to comment on the issue. Confirming that they were invited to be part of the special visit, Kavlekar refused to state the reason behind their absenteeism. “We were invited,” he just stated. 

On the other hand, Goa Forward Party (GFP) defended the absence of their MLAs stating that it was their Minister, Palyekar, who had first visited the site after Karnataka blocked the Mhadei tributary earlier this month. 

“Our Minister was the first to visit and discover that Karnataka has committed violation by blocking the tributary. This was 15-20 days back. Post that we had even initiated measures like forming a special monitoring team to keep vigil at the disputed site,” GFP President and TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai said. 

“We have every time made our stand clear. Not just through social media but also otherwise. We are committed not to allow any diversion,” he added.

The Minister said his party will support BJP MLA Michael Lobo’s resolution on the Floor of the House over the issue, which the latter intends to move during the forthcoming Budget session.

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