PANAJI: The state government on Thursday informed the Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party that it is ready for bilateral talks with Karnataka, for provision of drinking water from the Mhadei river to the drought prone areas of North Karnataka.
The communication follows a meeting convened by national BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on December 20 in order to reach an amicable solution between Karnataka and Goa over the Mhadei issue.
“We have no problem in providing drinking water to them, however there needs to be a mechanism for the same,” Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who faxed a related letter to Karnataka BJP unit president B S Yeddyurappa, said pointing out that he has discussed the matter with his cabinet colleagues as well as with Atmaram Nadkarni, senior counsel representing Goa at the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal on the Mhadei issue.
“We have also kept all legal options open,” he added.
Parrikar and Yeddyurappa attended the meeting in the national capital, held at the residence of Shah, along with Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Piyush Goyal, who are in-charge and deputy in-charge of the party for Karnataka, respectively.
Addressing a press conference at his official Altinho residence, Parrikar said the bilateral talks proposed on the issue would be carried out within the parameters of the tribunal.
“Furthermore, if any bilateral agreement happens on the issue then it would be placed before the tribunal,” he added, pointing out that in such a case, Goa would have to be part of the monitoring mechanism on water sharing.
The Chief Minister also said that Goans should not worry about the stand of his government on the Mhadei issue, as he himself, since the year 2002 has been diligently fighting with all vigour, over the particular issue.
“We are very much alert and would not compromise on the interest of Goa,” he added. Replying to a question as to whether Mhadei issue is being used by the BJP to entice Karnataka voters during the Karnataka assembly election scheduled next year, Parrikar said the people of Karnataka have already decided to bring BJP to power in their state.
Categorically denying that there is any pressure on him from the party leadership over the Mhadei issue, he maintained that if a decision is reached after the mulled bilateral talks then the same would be placed before the state cabinet for its approval.