Panaji, July 30 (IANS) The Goa government on Saturday suspended public bus services to Karnataka for two more days in view of the violent agitation in the neighbouring state following the Mhadei inter-state water dispute tribunal’s verdict.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar also appealed to ‘big brother’ Karnataka to stop violence in the state and accept the tribunal’s interim decision to stop the diversion of the Mhadei river to the Malaprabha river basin.
“We had suspended transport of our vehicles to Karnataka not out of fear, but as a precautionary measure. We have now suspended it by two more days… We are a small brother, there’s only so many times I can request a big brother. The big brother should understand the sentiment of the smaller brother,” Parsekar said, while also making an appeal to check violence across the border.
“Two states are not enemies. In the age of globalisation, even two countries cannot be inimical to each other. It is not right… Karnataka and Goa are two states in the same country. We are a small state, they are a big state. We are like their smaller brother. The provisions of law should be binding on us,” Parsekar said, adding that Karnataka had the constitutional right to appeal against the tribunal’s verdict if the state wishes to.
Goa and Karnataka are currently locked in a dispute over the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the waters of the Mhadei river before a central tribunal.
Mhadei also known as the Mandovi river, is known as a lifeline in the northern parts of the state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa.
While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is 81.2 km in length in Goa.
Karnataka plans to construct seven dams on the river, aimed at diverting the waters into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in North Karnataka. Both the Goa government and civil society groups in Goa have said that diverting the waters of the river would badly hurt the northern areas of the state which are dependent on the river for fishing, irrigation and potable water supply.
Parsekar however said there was no political motive behind the Mhadei water tussle.
“It is natural that a state should look after its own people. This is not a BJP versus Congress thing. Mhadei starts in Karnataka, traverses through Maharashtra and most of it flows through Goa. It is the future and life-giver of Goa. We cannot compromise on that, but that we have never flexed our muscle. We have followed processes of law,” Parsekar said.