MARGAO: The Goa Forward Party (GFP), coalition partner of the nine-month-old Manohar Parrikar-led government, on Thursday, asked the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to take away the Water Resources portfolio from the party MLA if the government decides to give Mhadei drinking water beyond certain acceptable “limits” to the Karnataka state.
In a hurriedly addressed press conference, the president of Goa Forward Party and Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said, “I am telling the government that it should not go beyond the limits. Can give the required drinking water to Karnataka state, but not for irrigation purpose. If the government gives more than the required drinking water to Karnataka state, we do not want the water resources portfolio. Let the water resources portfolio be taken away from us.”
“We do not want to be a party to sell out Goa or Goa be cheated. I do not want first to be associated and be part of anything that dilute the main agenda of the GFP Goy – Goykar and Goykarponn,” he thundered.
It may be recalled here that a meeting of the central BJP leaders and the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was held to resolve the issue of Mhadei river water, by providing drinking water to the people of Karnataka.
However, the Goa government was non-committal on it.
Clearing his stand on the Mhadei water issue, the GFP chief said that if there is any understanding, and the quantity of drinking water is increased, the GFP is not interested in the water resource portfolio.
“We are with the Chief Minister Parrikar upto the point and not beyond that. Goans fought the Mhadei battle. The House has adopted collective resolutions. CM Parrikar and the team of legal experts fought to protect the Madhei water. All this cannot be forgotten in just one go, just because there are elections in Karnataka. Goans cannot afford to lose it, this is my stand, the stand which I had taken then when I was in the opposition,” Sardesai said.
Asked whether he habours any doubts on his own government that it would allow the more than the required quantity of drinking water from the Mhadei river to be pumped out, Sardesai avoided a direct answer, and said that India is a federal country and BJP is ruling at the Centre and hence there can be pressure on the government run by BJP Chief Minister Parrikar.
“Drinking water can be provided to Karnataka by pumping it out from Mhadei, but it should be strictly limited to drinking only. The government has to have a mechanism in place to monitor the quantity of water pumped out. Early morning CM phoned me and informed that the Goa government can give 0.3 thousand million cubic feet of drinking water from the Mhadei river to Karnataka. I told him that that it should only be restricted to drinking purpose,” he added.
Sardesai also said that he has cleared his stand on river nationalization that Goans rivers cannot be the ways for coal transportations and that the Goan rivers cannot be the sanctuaries for casinos. He said that his stand on the coal transportation is that “it should be done only through containerization and not in exposed way.”