Karnataka to seek PM’s intervention for water share

Bengaluru: Karnataka will once again seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in getting its due share of the Mahadayi river water from Goa for supplying drinking water to the state’s northern districts, reeling under drought for the past two years.

“An all-party delegation will soon call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and seek his intervention again for resolving the inter-state water dispute with Goa,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters here on Saturday.

The decision to meet Modi was taken at an all-party meeting here, in which central ministers D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Ananth Kumar participated along with other BJP and Congress lawmakers from parliament and the assembly.

The assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution, seeking the prime minister’s intervention amid protests by the opposition members and people, especially farmers in the most-affected districts.

“We will request the prime minister’s office to fix a date soon to meet Modi for apprising him of the grim situation in the affected districts and seek his help to resolve the issue,” Siddaramaiah said after the hour-long meeting.

Karnataka wants to build barrages across Kalasa-Banduri tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert 7.6 thousand million cubic feet of water for supplying drinking water to four districts – Gadag, Hubbali-Dharwad, Belagavi and Bagalkote – through the Malaprbaha river.

As the 77-km-long Mahadayi river flows to Goa from Karnataka into the Arabian Sea, the former, which has 52-km of its length, has been objecting over sharing its water, calling it a lifeline for its people.

But Karnataka sought to disprove its stand.

“We have been trying to convince Goa over the years that our project does not affect the river flow into its state, as about 200 tmc feet of water is going into the Arabian Sea every year unutilised,” Siddaramaiah said.

Goa approached Supreme Court in September 2006 to prevent Karnataka from going ahead with the project on fears that it would prevent the river water flow and the central government set up the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal on November 16, 2010 to resolve the dispute.

The tribunal, however, on a petition by Goa, directed Karnataka not to utilise water or divert it through the barrage project till the dispute was adjudicated.