BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said he was still open for discussions with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to find an amicable solution to the inter-state Mahadayi river water sharing row.
Stating this at an all-party meeting chaired by him to discuss the row,he said he would also try to convince Congress leaders in Goa of the need to release water to Karnataka.
"If the Goa Chief Minister responds to my recent letter and calls for a meeting on the issue, I will also make honest efforts to convince Congress leaders there" (to release water to Karnataka), Siddaramaiah told reporters after the meeting.
He said except BJP, those at the meeting decided that if there was no response to his letter in a day or two, an all-party delegation, led by him would seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his intervention on the issue by calling a meeting of Chief Ministers of riparian states of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
Siddaramaiah said that he expected state BJP’s participation and cooperation in this regard.
After mediation by BJP national president Amit Shah, Parrikar, in a letter to Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa last month had said that in principle, Goa would not oppose the "reasonable" and "justified" quantum of water meant to be utilised for drinking while pointing out that the matter is pending before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.
However, Parrikar has still not responded to Karnataka government which had expressed its readiness for talks at "any place and date" to work out an amicable settlement.
Meanwhile, state BJP has accused Siddaramaiah of playing politics on the issue by seeking for Prime Minister’s intervention, instead of trying to convince Congress leaders in Goa who are opposed to sharing of water.
Reiterating that BJP will take the responsibility of convincing Goa and Maharashtra Chief Ministers regarding water sharing, and state Congress should convince their party colleagues who are in opposition there, Yeddyurappa questioned Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi’s silence on the issue.
"Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should have rebuked Goa Congress Chief’s statement about not releasing even a drop of water to Karnataka," he told reporters and added that the issue was pending for the last 30 years and Congress was responsible for the matter gong to the tribunal.
Karnataka, which has locked horns with neighbouring Goa on sharing Mahadayi River water, is seeking release of 7.56 tmcft water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.
The project is being undertaken to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi River, to divert 7.56 tmc ft water to Malaprabha which meets drinking water needs of the region.
Attempts have been made by Karnataka to amicably solve the issue that is also pending before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.