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Monday, January 17, 2022

Mhadei controversy: Former CM Pratapsingh Rane clarifies on why two paras had to be dropped

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Panaji: Former CM Pratapsingh Rane has clarified over the controversy of deleting two clauses before Mhadei tribunal claiming that the inter-state water dispute tribunal was not ready to take up the issue without doing so.

Rane has issued the following clarification: Goa in July 2002 made an application for appointment of Tribunal under Section-3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act-1956 as amended. The request for appointment of Tribunal contained 7 matters for adjudication. However, Ministry of Water Resources vide various letters asked Goa to withdraw two clauses namely (iv) and (v), since the same pertained to basins other than Mhadei.

Further it was enquired by the State Government from Government of India, and it was clarified that since issues (iv) and (v) pertained to Malaprabha and basins other than Mhadei and since Krishna Tribunal was also in process, there was no option but to delete the clauses even though Government of Goa then requested to consider the request in toto clarifying the stand of Goa. However since Central Government was not in a position to appoint a Tribunal without deletion of the said Clauses, it was decided with advice of learned Advocate General to delete the clauses and take up the issues with the Tribunal itself. Hence only after deletion of the Clauses, Tribunal was constituted on 6th November 2010 under Sections 3 of ISRWD Act.

It may be noted that as per the Award, the issues relating to clause (iv) and (v) were taken up by the Tribunal even with objections of Karnataka and due cognizance was given to the same.

With regards to Virdi Dam it may be noted that a meeting of Chief Ministers of Goa and Maharashtra was held and it was decided to take up the work of Virdi Dam on River Virdi with following conditions.

  1. Increasing hight of the Dam and diverting extra water in   Anjunem Dam.
  2. Downstream riparian rights would be protected by releases from the Dam. No diversion of water but utilization in Mhadei basin only.

However, as Maharastra changed the alignment of the Dam to Kattika Nallah still retaining the name Virdi Dam. Goa had objected to the same as no extra water could be diverted to Anjunem Dam, nor Maharashtra was ready to release for downstream uses in Goa.

This issue was discussed threadbare in the Tribunal as per the Award. During the course of the hearing, Maharashtra wanted to divert some water to Tillari basin also. Though, Tribunal has not allowed Maharashtra to divert water, it has reduced the storage and  has asked Maharashtra to get revised DPR approved and seek various permissions before resorting to gorge filling for which till then the State of Tribunal still continues.

On current Mhadei issue, We must be firm on our stand, as no water can be diverted from one river basin to another. Goa must maintain this stand forever.

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