The central government has notified the Mhadei PRAWAH(Progressive River Authority for Welfare and Harmony) and decided to set up an authority in Panjim, Goa. It will be tasked with managing and implementing the final decision of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal. The central government set up Mhadei Stream Authority three months ago per Goa’s demand. Some have met the Mhadei PRAWAH notification with apprehension and others with confidence.
The Authority is set to have one member each from Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. The center also approved the demand of the Goa government to set up the headquarters of the Authority in Goa as the longest stream of Mhadei flows through Goa. The Central Water Commission’s approval of the Karnataka government’s Kalasa-Banduri water diversion project across the Mhadei river caused a public outcry in Goa. It was due to this agitation that the Goa government demanded the establishment of an authority from the center. As per the rules of the establishment, the Authority Chairman is to be full-time and independent. The term of the office of the Chairman shall not be more than 3 years. He may be an Engineer at the level of higher administrator from the Central Water Commission.
CM Pramod Sawant welcomed the decision of the central government. “Great news for the people of Goa! I extend my gratitude to the Union Government for meeting one of our crucial demands and giving the approval for the constitution and notifying Mahadayi PRAWAH, as well as for authorizing the establishment of its headquarters in Panaji, Goa.” the CM tweeted on Sunday. After the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah’s claim that the party’s governments in Goa, Karnataka, and the Centre had resolved the inter-state dispute of water sharing, the Goa government found itself in a difficult position. CM Sawant and a few cabinet ministers questioned the claim by Shah, as the state government had recently appealed against the CWC’s decision to approve Karnataka’s Kalasa-Banduri project. After BJP’s loss in the Karnataka polls, Goa BJP’s state committee urged the state government to oppose the Karnataka government’s Kalasa-Banduri project. “This significant decision marks a major milestone in our collective efforts to safeguard Mother Mhadei” added the CM.
While the CM and some state authorities welcomed the center’s decision, environmentalists are skeptical about it. With the state having failed to get the Central Water Commission to withdraw its approval of Karnataka’s Kalasa-Banduri project, environmentalists have expressed their apprehension over the formation of Mhadei PRAWAH. Their skepticism extends to the question of whether this decision alone will be able to address the concern of the Goan people regarding the diversion of river Mhadei. “How the well-being and harmony of the lower riparian state of Goa will be achieved by establishing the authority of Mhadei PRAWAH is not known,” said Nirmala Sawant, president of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan.
The central government notified Mhadei PRAWAH to set up authority in Panjim, Goa to carry out the implementation of the final decision of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal following the state government’s demands. CM Pramod Sawant welcomes the decision with happiness. Several others in the state show apprehension regarding the same.