Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar on Friday said that the state government will take appropriate steps to ensure safety and security of the officials of the department visiting the Kalsa-Bhanduri worksite.
He said steps will be taken after obtaining legal advice from Advocate General Dattaprasad Lawande and Additional Solicitor General of India Atmaram Nadkarni.
In view of the incident that took place two days back at Kankumbi in Karnataka wherein an official team of the water resource department (WRD) visited the Kankumbi site for inspection of the alleged diversion of water from Mhadei river and was detained by Khanapur police, the issue of safety and security of the officials of Goa has become serious.
The way the police team from Khanapur detained the eight officials of WRD and treated them offensively has created apprehension among these officials.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times,’ the minister said the act of the Karnataka police of detaining WRD officials and treating them like culprits was unacceptable and undemocratic.
“Following the incident, I have asked Advocate General Lawande to take legal advice from AGS Nadkarni, who is representing the state before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal to take appropriate decision for the safety and security of the WRD officials in the future. Once we get the legal advice, further steps will be taken,” Palyekar said.
He said that two lady officers were a part of the team and the way Karnataka police treated them is a serious matter. He said that while fighting to protect River Mhadei, it is also a prime responsibility of the government to take care of the safety and security of the officials visiting the neighbouring state for inspection at the Kalsa-Bhanduri worksite where Karnataka has diverted the flow of water in spite of the Supreme Court order.
The WRD has submitted the report of the incidents to the government and is awaiting further directions in this regard.
The WRD team that was detained included Dinesh Mahale, executive engineer; R Bandekar, assistant engineer; Mario Rebello, assistant engineer; M Xavier, junior engineer and technical team comprising Saiesh Lawande, Sudesh Parulekar, Trupti Prabhugaonkar and Purva Naik.
Speaking to this daily, an official who was part of the team, said that they were taking photographs at cross regulatory near Mauli temple where the flow of the water from Mhadei basin has been diverted to Malaprabha basin as evidence of violation by Karnataka.
“We reached there around 11.00 am on Wednesday for periodical inspection at Kankumbi. We were taking photographs, as we found that water had been diverted through a box canal, which is a violation of the order of the tribunal.
A person who was there called police and we were taken to an inspection bungalow,” the official said.
He said that Khanapur police team led by PSI Balgunda Patil recorded the statement in writing and video, took documents of the official vehicles and licence of driver and photographs of WRD team with vehicle.
“We have been visiting the site for the last many months as part of periodical inspection at the worksite. But, detention of our officials by local police has happened for the first time,” he said, adding that the police has also warned them not to enter the worksite area without prior permission of district commissioner of Belagavi and Khanapur police.