MARGAO: Twenty-six gram sabhas of Goa plan to make January 26th, truly a red letter day. All these gram sabhas will jointly and unequivocally pledge grassroots support of their village folk for the sake of protecting mother Mhadei.
As the public anger against the diversion of Mhadei water gets stronger each day, all eyes are on the special gram sabhas scheduled on January 26, wherein citizens have urged all panchayats to take up the Mhadei River diversion issue.
Social activists from South Goa, including few from the North have fixed Republic Day to start with a bigger agitation to protect Mhadei River.
Few panchayat bodies of South District have already passed resolutions demanding withdrawal of the DPR approval given to Karnataka.
“The issues of Mhadei River diversion and coal transportation require emergency action by all of us to prevent irreversible loss to Goa,” citizens said by bringing the same to the notice of the panchayats.
A day before, at the meeting held in Margao, several social activists resolved that the proposed diversion of waters of the Mhadei River by Karnataka must be rejected; all permissions granted including the approval of the DPR and the award given by the Tribunal in 2018 must also be revoked and no further permissions shall be granted.
It was further resolved that the panchayats shall endorse this resolution at the next meeting and forward this resolution to all the relevant authorities of the Goa government and the Centre for immediate implementation.
The other important resolution passed was that the Forest Department of Government of Goa must prevent the loss of wildlife and forests in Goa due to the proposed diversion of waters of Mhadei River by upholding the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, to issue directions to ensure that no water of Mhadei River is diverted under any circumstances.
Abhijit Prabhudesai said, “The coal handling at Mormugao Port and coal transportation from and within Goa must be stopped immediately.”
“This is not just to protect Goa and Goans from the direct impacts, but also to ensure that waters usurped by the steel plants of private profit seeking corporations are returned to the people of Karnataka and the diversion of Mhadei River is prevented,” said Prabhudesai.
He said that the panchayats shall endorse this resolution at the next meeting and forward this resolution to Government of Goa and relevant authorities for immediate implementation.
They are of the strong opinion that this is an emergency situation created by the imminent diversion of part of the water flowing as Mhadei River as proposed by the State of Karnataka and the irreversible loss of water availability, biodiversity and life support systems if this proposed diversion takes place.
“The future water crisis due to climate change and the vulnerability of Goa as described in the State Action Plan for Climate Change for the State of Goa also demands that water flowing into the State of Goa must be defended under all circumstances,” Prabhudesai added.