Girish Chodankar. (Photo: Twitter/@girishgoa). Image Source: IANS News

Panaji, Dec 14 : The Congress will stick to its plan of carrying out a protest at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Sunday, in order to lobby for Goa's case in the ongoing inter-state dispute over Mhadei river water, specifically the Union MoEF's recent green nod to Karnataka's Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project.

While the opposition party's protest was planned several days back, in a surprising development Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had urged the latter to intervene in the matter. Soon after his meeting with the PM, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar had also assured Malik that a "positive solution" would be arrived within a few days.

"No question of withdrawing our protest at JantarMantar. VA@INCGoa do not trust anybody in @BJP4India & @BJP4Goa Govt on Mhadei assurance to #GoaGovernor. What @goacm could not do our Governor reacted promptly on our petition & Delhi protest. V R thankful to him. @PMOIndia," state Congress president Girish Chodankar tweeted on Saturday.

"V R sure the word of our Governor holds more weight than of our @goacm @DrPramodPSawant with the @PMOIndia @digambarkamat @luizinhofaleiro #FranciscoSardinha @IYCGoa @amarnathpanjika @PratimaCoutinho to protest," Chodankar also said.

Goa and Karnataka are locked in a decade-long inter-state dispute over the sharing of Mhadei river waters. The already vexed conflict between the two states, became further exacerbated, when two months before crucial Karnataka assembly bypolls, the MoEF gave a green nod to Karnataka's Rs. 841 crore Kalasa-Banduri dam project.

The Goa government is opposed to the project which aims to divert water from the Mhadei river basin to the deficit basin of the Malaprabha river, ostensibly for drinking water purpose.

The Goa government has insisted that the MoEF's decision was illegal and the diversion would cause "ecological devastation" in Goa.

The Mhadei river originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea near Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra. An inter-state water disputes tribunal, set up by the central government, after hearing the over two-decade-old Mhadei river water sharing dispute among Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, in August 2018 allotted 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) to Karnataka and 1.33 TMC to Maharashtra.

Karnataka as well as Goa have filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court challenging the contents of the Tribunal's order. Goa has also accused Karnataka of already diverting the Mhadei river water, without the formal notification of the Tribunal's award by he central government.

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