BJP minister Shripad Naik claims Amit Shah never promised Mhadei water to Karnataka

Panaji: Days after BJP President Amit Shah made a pro-Karnataka comment on the Mhadei inter-state water dispute, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik on Saturday denied that Shah had made any commitment to divert water from the Mhadei river to Karnataka and resolve dispute within six months.

Naik's statement comes on the day when Karnataka went to polls after a high profile and heated election campaign, in which the contentious Mhadei river dispute featured prominently, at least in the northern regions of the state.

File image of BJP chief Amit Shah. PTI

File image of BJP chief Amit Shah. PTI

"He (Shah) never said we will give (water) to Karnataka, he only said that he will think about it," Naik told a press conference at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state headquarters in Panaji.

"This matter is sub-judice and before the Tribunal... But if need be, it can be considered from a humanitarian point of view... Neither our President nor our Prime Minister said water will be given (to Karnataka)," he added.

Shah, in an election rally in Karnataka's Hubbali region last week, promised to resolve the Mhadei dispute within six months and assured voters that water from the multi-state river would flow into Karnataka within the time frame.

Naik, a Lok Sabha MP from North Goa, also said Goa was willing to indulge in out-of-court talks with Karnataka, provided the latter does not indulge in chicanery.

"We are always ready for discussion. But they (Karnataka) indulged in chicanery by illegally constructing (a canal), without paying heed to the Tribunal and the Court. If you do such chicanery, then what is the point of sitting across a table," Naik said.

Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently contesting parties before the Mhadei inter-state water disputes Tribunal over the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the Mhadei river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mhadei basin to the nearby basin on the Malaprabha river.

The Tribunal hearing the dispute is expected to deliver a verdict in a few months.

Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river, is considered as a lifeline in the northern parts of the coastal state.

It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.

The river's course is 28.8 km in Karnataka, and over 50 kilometres in Goa.

Updated Date: May 12, 2018 21:39 PM

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