PANAJI: Days after he called Kannadigas “harami” or illegitimate, Goa’s Water Resources Minister Vinod Palienkar on Tuesday accused the Karnataka government of being “habitual liars” vis a vis the Mhadei water dispute issue.
In a Facebook post uploaded on Tuesday, Palienkar alleged that the Karnataka government was paying its expert witness to appear before the Tribunal, which he termed an unfair practice.
“Karnataka WRD Minister @reachmbp says that they have not violated anything. Karnataka Govt have been habitual liars with regards to #Mhadei issue. We will file contempt with photographic evidence,” Palienkar said.
“Goa never paid for its witnesses. Our witnesses worked keeping in mind #GoemGoemkarGoemkarponn in #Mhadei matter. Unlike Karnataka witness A.K. Gosain who had confessed in tribunal that he was paid 50k per day by Karnataka for being the witness & 5 lakhs to prepare report,” he further said in his post. ‘Goem, Goemkar, Goemkarponn’ or ‘Goa, Goans and Goanness’ is a slogan of the ruling alliance party Goa Forward to which the Minister belongs.
The Facebook post also contains a facsimile of a note signed by M. Satish Kumar, Officer on Special Duty of the Karnataka Water Resources Department, where the official spells out the fees paid to Prof. A.K. Gosain for putting together relevant reports and for making depositions before the Tribunal in person as an expert.
Palienkar had triggered controversy on Saturday by referring to Kannadigas as ‘harami’. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and former BJP leader from Karnataka B.S. Yeddyurappa have both censured the Goa Minister subsequently, with the latter demanding an apology from the Minister for the abusive remark.
Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently involved in a dispute in the tribunal over controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across Mhadei river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mhadei basin to nearby basin on the Malaprabha river.
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 course is 28.8 km in Karnataka, and over 50 km in Goa.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s letter to Yeddyurappa last month to discuss river water sharing for drinking purposes on humanitarian grounds had triggered popular protests in both Goa and Karnataka.