The six opposition MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao, were marshalled out of the Assembly as they tried to disrupt the governor’s address during the first day of the winter session on Monday over the Mhadei diversion issue.
Alemao along with Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai, AAP MLAs Venzy Viegas and Cruz Silva, Congress MLAs Carlos Alvares Ferreira and Altone D’Costa were demanding that Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai should first speak on Mhadei diversion issue and not the government programmes.
The Opposition MLAs, wearing black outfits, with placards in their hands with ‘Save Mhadei’ message went into the well of the House and reiterated their demand that the governor should speak on Mhadei. However, their demand was not fulfilled and they were moved out of the Assembly House by marshals, while the governor began with his address.
Speaking to the reporters, Yuri Alemao said that they had demanded that the governor should first speak on the Mhadei diversion issue as it is important. “Aren’t the 33 MLAs in power using Mhadei water? They should resign if they can’t resolve the Mhadei issue. This government is not interested in resolving issues pertaining to the peoples’ welfare,” Alemao said.
“Switching off mike (in the Assembly) of Leader of Opposition shows that this is dictatorship. The opposition will fight this battle unitedly,” Alemao said.
Vijai Sardesai said that they wanted the governor to express his opinion on the Mhadei issue first and not the government speech. “Mhadei movement is of peoples’ movement. We are supporting this movement. The governor should have expressed his opinion over Mhadei,” Sardesai said.
He said that the speech written by the government (for governor) is only boasting about incomplete projects. “Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has sold Mhadei to Karnataka to protect his chair,” he alleged.
Since Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that the Centre has cleared the much disputed Kalasa-Bhanduri dam project in his state, people have started to vent their anger over the issue and political parties are holding public meetings.
Goa and Karnataka are currently battling out a dispute over the Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the waters of the Mhadei river at a central tribunal.
Mhadei originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji. While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is 81.2 km in length in Goa. Karnataka plans to construct dams on the river, aimed at diverting the waters into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in North Karnataka.