The Goa government has sent a team of officials to a village near the border with Karnataka amid media reports that the neighbouring state is diverting water from the Mahadeyi river. Goa Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar today said the team has been sent after taking cognisance of reports that Karnataka has resumed work on a dam to block the Mahadeyi river water at Kankumbi village on the border. Mahadayi river riparian states Karnataka and Goa, besides Maharashtra, have been locked in a bitter dispute over sharing of its water. “After media reports of Karnataka blocking a Mahadeyi tributary and resuming work on a project at Kankumbi, I have directed our chief engineer to immediately dispatch a team of engineers to do an inspection at the site,” Palyekar told PTI.
The team has been asked to submit a report by today evening, he said. The Central government has formed a tribunal to look into the river-sharing issue between Goa and Karnataka. On Wednesday, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that ongoing dispute with Karnataka will be fought before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal. Parrikar had written a letter to Karnataka BJP president B S Yeddyurappa last month, saying Goa could share the river water with Karnataka for drinking purposes, and expressed his willingness to hold bilateral talks. Parrikar’s missive had evoked strong criticism from from certain quarters.
The letter created a controversy as it was addressed to the BJP leader instead to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who represents the state government. The Mahadayi (called Mandovi in Goa) originates in Karnataka and flows to Goa and Maharashtra. The water-sharing issue is politically sensitive one, especially in five north Karnataka districts. The southern state is going to polls later this year.