Over 200 farmers from the state took to the streets here on Wednesday and submitted a petition to the Governor, Chief Minister and other political leaders, demanding release of the Mahadayi river water by Goa.
“We have submitted a memorandum to the Governor (Vajubhai R.Vala)’s office and the Chief Minister’s office requesting for the release of water from Mahadayi river (from neighbouring Goa) to the drought-hit state of Karnataka,” general secretary of the state farmers’ association Rait Sena Karnataka, H.S. Madiwalar told IANS here.
The farmers, who have been staging a protest in the city for the past four days outside the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s state unit office in the western suburb, have also met the leaders of the Janata Dal (Secular).
“We hope that JD(S) leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda will support us and help us in getting drinking water from the river as both parties in the state — Congress and BJP — have only been blaming each other over the issue,” Madiwalar said.
The BJP state unit leaders were whisked away by the police from the Congress office in the city centre after they staged a demonstration on Wednesday against the ruling party’s failure to resolve the issue.
Several Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) members, who were also staging protests along with the farmers outside the Governor’s official residence Raj Bhavan and other locations, were detained by the police.
The 77-km-long Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district of northwest Karnataka and flows into neighbouring Goa and eventually joins the Arabian Sea off the west coast.
Although the river flows 29 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032 km in the southern state as against 1,580 km in Goa.
Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water to meet the drinking needs of its people in Hubballi-Dharwad, Gadag, Bagalkote and Belagavi districts and irrigating their farmlands.
Karnataka plans to build two canals at Kalasa and Banduri, which are the tributaries of the river in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts.
While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the inter-state dispute over sharing of the river water, BJP’s state unit chief B.S. Yeddyurappa said the state Congress leaders should convince their Goan counterparts to allow their Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to settle the issue amicably.