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Editorial

Paliencar’s U-turn

15th July 2017, 03:51 Hrs

Settling for a compromise on Mhadei dispute at this point sounds absurd

Water resources minister Vinoda Paliencar’s statement that Goa government should go for an out-of-court settlement on the Mhadei river issue not only embarrassed the Goa Forward top brass but also put the government in a very awkward situation. \\\\r\\\Paliencar is in favour of an out-of-court settlement in the dispute between Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka over the Mhadei waters for the simple reason that according to him the State can save crores of rupees spent in fighting the case before the Mhadei water disputes tribunal. \\\\r\\\What Paliencar doesn’t understand is that all along Goa has ruled out an out-of-court settlement. Moreover, the Mhadei tribunal last year in an interim order had rejected Karnataka’s demand to divert 7.56 TMC of water to the Malprabha basin. The Tribunal while ordering a complete blockage of the canal built by Karnataka ruled that Mhadei water cannot be diverted. Paliencar’s idea of working out a win-win situation for both states is illogical and against the government’s line of thinking. In the Mhadei water issue there can’t be a situation like “we don’t lose anything and they don’t lose anything”. The minister also appears clueless on the Mhadei issue as it was his party supremo Vijai Sardesai’s appeal soon after the interim order, to the then Parsekar government, not to allow Karnataka to weaken Goa’s stand, firmly ruling out any out-of-court settlement. \\\\r\\\The WRD minister’s entire argument revolves around State losing money on fighting the case. Paliencar should realize that we have come a long way fighting this legal battle. In this long drawn battle for water, Goa has tasted big success in the interim order and such a thought of sitting across the table for a settlement sounds absurd at this point in time. The WRD minister should understand that Goa’s fight is for water at all costs. \\\\r\\\It was only after Goa Forward office bearers alerted Paliencar over his statement, that the minister retracted his words and said that there will be no compromise or out-of-court settlement. Siddaramaiah had written to chief minister Manohar Parrikar a few days back seeking a meeting between the three states — Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra to help find an “amicable” solution on the Mhadei water diversion dispute. This is the third letter written by Karnataka to the Goa government. Ministers are not known to restrain themselves under Parrikar’s regime. But yes, sometimes when the cat is out, the mice will play.
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