Mahadayi: Karnataka minister criticises PM for not taking lead


Bengaluru: Karnataka Industries minister R V Deshpande on Friday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not taking an initiative to convene a meeting of the three riparian states to resolve the Mahadayi river dispute inspite of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urging him to do so during the all-party delegation meet in New Delhi recently.

"My honorable Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also had met the Prime Minister at the all-party delegation and requested him to call the meeting of all the three states and resolve the Mahadayi dispute amicably. Somehow, Prime Minister has not taken the lead. Our legislature also has passed a resolution requesting Prime Minister’s leadership," he told PTI after announcing ThinkBig Summit for women entrepreneurs here.

The Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal headed by J M Panchal, during a hearing in New Delhi yesterday, had suggested that the chief ministers of the three sparring states--Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra--can hold talks and resolve the dispute amicably, instead of seeking Centre’s intervention.

The hearing was adjourned to October 3.

Asked how would the government justify its demand urging the Prime Minister to intervene when the Tribunal had suggested an amicable solution through talks, Deshpande said: "What is wrong to make an attempt to resolve a problem. Is it wrong? I don’t think it is wrong. If he succeeds it is good for the nation; good for the states".

He said the neighbouring states cannot fight and the Prime Minister should take everybody into confidence and resolve the Mahadayi dispute as on many occasions in the past the central governments have made efforts in this regard.

Asked to give an account of earlier Prime Ministers including Manmohan Singh taking initiatives, he said "Forget about the precedents. There are lot which I will tell you. If there is no precedent then let the Prime Minister set a new precedence."

Karnataka had filed a petition before the tribunal seeking 7.5 tmcft from Mahadayi to provide water for drinking and irrigation purposes to parts of Belagavi, Gadag and Hubballi-Dharwad region.

Goa challenged the petition by stating that the diversion of Mahadayi water will spell disaster to the environment and also dry Mandovi river.

People from north Karnataka have been holding protests seeking Modi s intervention.

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