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K’taka CM invites Parsekar, Fadnavis for talks on Mahadayi row

Days after the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal asked the concerned states to resolve the water dispute amicably, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written to his Goa and Maharashtra counterparts offering to host the first round of discussions.

"...on behalf of the riparian state of Karnataka, it would be my pleasure to host the first round of talks. I sincerely hope you would, in the true spirit of co-operation and collaboration, agree to your state participating in the talks," Siddaramaiah said in a letter to Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

"I, therefore, request you to instruct your state's chief secretary to interact with my state's chief secretary in finalising the date of meeting in this month of September, 2016," the letter, released to the media said.

A similar letter was written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inviting him for talks over the issue, the Chief Minister's Office said. The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal had last week asked Chief Ministers of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra to resolve the water dispute amicably by holding discussions.

Karnataka government, which has locked horns with the neighbouring Goa on the larger issue of sharing Mahadayi River water between both the states, had petitioned the tribunal seeking the release of 7.56 tmcft of water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.

The tribunal's July 27 interim order after hearing arguments from Karnataka and Goa had rejected the state's plea citing various grounds, including ecological damage that the project may cause. 

Challenging this, the state government has filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court.
Following the interim order, tension had gripped most parts of northern Karnataka as protests turned violent on July 28 during which government offices were attacked and public property was damaged.
Also, a state-wide bandh was observed on July 30.

The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, which will utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi river, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.

It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi River, to divert 7.56 tmc to Malaprabha river which fulfils the drinking water needs of the twin cities.

Karnataka has for long been advocating for out of court settlement of the issue. Siddaramaiah had led an all party delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention.
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