Goa team’s visit to Kalasa Banduri project site riles farmers

Hubballi: The visit of the group led by Goa Legislative Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant, deputy speaker Michael Lobo and two legislators to the Kalasa Banduri project site at Kanakumbi in Belagavi district on Sunday has led to howls of protest from farmer leaders of the Mahadayi movement. 

Water resource minister M.B. Patil said that the move of the Goa governmet to send a delegation to inspect the site is an eyewash to gain confidence of the people of that state. The minister also accused Goa CM Manohar Parikkar of ignoring protocol and visiting the Kanakumbi Mahadayi watershed area secretly without bringing it to the notice of  officials in Karnataka.

Stating that a controversy would have been erupted if the state government had tried to stop the Goa team from visiting Kanakumbi, Patil clarified that no illegal work is being undertaken at the project site. He also said that the latest visit by the Goa team is merely an attempt by the Goa government to mislead their people as it has lost their confidence. Stressing the need to maintain law and order at the project site in the wake of the controversial statement given by the Goa water resource minister during his visit to the venue few days ago, he claimed that his government is more transparent on the issue and has not violated the direction of the tribunal to maintain status quo. 

"There is a possibility of the Goa government leveling false charges against us of having undertaken the Kalasa Banduri project going against the direction of the tribunal if we had prevented its team from visiting Kanakumbi. But, it is wrong to visit our state clandestinely without following protocol,” Patil said while speaking to media persons in Hungund in Bagalkot district.

Criticising the move to permit the Goa team to visit the disputed project site in Kanakumbi when the matter is pending before the tribunal, farmer leaders in the Malaprabha  basin alleged that all political parties have shown irresponsible behaviour on the issue. They said that the state government is adding fuel to fire by allowing the Goa team to enter Karnataka despite Goa CM Manohar Parrikar backtracking on his promise to provide Mahadayi water for drinking purposes.

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