‘Amit Shah’s Mhadei comment a mere campaign statement’

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Panaji, May 11 (IANS) Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday dismissed BJP President Amit Shah’s pro-Karnataka comment on the Mhadei interstate water dispute as an election stunt.

Rane, however, expressed confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader would ensure that the interests of Goa are protected vis-a-vis Karnataka in the Mhadei river water row.

“In an election, many statements are made. I am confident Amit Shah will ensure that the interests of Goa and the interests of our state are protected irrespective of whatever statement may have been made,” Rane told a press conference in Panaji on Friday.

Rane said this when he was asked to react on Shah’s comment at a poll rally in Karnataka’s Hubbali region where the BJP President promised to resolve the Mhadei dispute in six months and that waters from the multi-state river would flow into Karnataka.

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Questioned if the Goa BJP leadership will ask Shah, who is scheduled to visit Goa on Sunday, to deliver a statement promising to protect Goa’s interest vis-a-vis the Mhadei issue, Rane said: “We will see when he comes here. We will have a discussion with him.”

Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently contesting parties in the Mhadei inter-state water disputes tribunal over the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across Mhadei river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mhadei basin.

The Tribunal hearing the dispute is expected to deliver a verdict in a few months.

Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river, is considered a lifeline in the northern parts of the coastal state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.

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The river course is 28.8 km in Karnataka and over 50 km in Goa.

–IANS

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