Thousands of people from all over Goa descended at Virdi-Sanquelim on Monday, to extend their support to the Save Mhadei movement, which is being touted as the second Opinion Poll.
A couple of resolutions were adopted demanding that the Central Water Tribunal withdraw the approval of DPR granted to Karnataka as any attempt to divert the nature water course of Mhadei would have severe impact on population of the six talukas depending on their drinking water needs.
“It will also affect the flora and fauna of the river valley, as well as the people’s life and culture in the area. Diversion of Mhadei will threaten the Western Ghats along with the fishermen, farmers, paddy fields, cultivated lands and biological resources that depend on the river water,” the resolution states.
Stating that the Mhadei issue is associated with the self respect, identity and future of Goans, another resolution has urged the State government to come out publicly in support of the movement.
Further, the government has been urged not to fall short in its efforts to save Mhadei and not to sacrifice Mhadei under any pressure.
Meanwhile, an array of speakers spoke at the meeting urging Goans to unite as one and take the Mhadei fight forward.
Prof Prajal Sakhardande highlighted how almost half of Goa is dependent on Mhadei water with its six talukas dependent on the river for its drinking water.
“If 3.9 TMC feet water is allowed to be diverted, it will spell doom for Goa and we will not allow that to happen,” Sakhardande added.
Dnyanpith awardee Damodar Mauzo likened the current movement with that of the Opinion Poll wherein several leaders participated.
“That time too, we were told nothing will come out of such movement and today also, they will tell that nothing will happen but we will definitely taste victory if such a massive crowd is behind the movement,” Mauzo added.
TMC leader Kirti Azad opined that Goa will not remain the same if Mhadei water is allowed to be diverted.
“What will happen to its wildlife parks, its tourism?” he questioned and urge Goans to unitedly fight for Mhadei’s cause for the sake of future generations.
Chicalim Parish Priest Fr Bolmax Pereira chided Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for stating the Opposition is doing politics on Mhadei issue as he said that it is the duty of the politicians to resolve the issue.
“The issue can be resolved through a political answer,” he opined.
Further, Fr Pereira called upon CM Sawant and all the MLAs to resign in protest, if they fail to resolve the issue.
Adv Hrudaynath Shirodkar urged that there is a need to strengthen the hands of Rajendra Kerkar who has dedicated his life for Mhadei.
“Our government is not fighting the Mhadei case in the SC properly and hence, we have to rally behind Kerkar to take the fight forward,” Shirodkar said.
Poet Datta Damodar Naik questioned how a State is allowed to divert a river when even nations cannot do so.
“From India, 6 rivers flow to Pakistan but the flow was never stopped. Then how Karnataka is doing the same?” he posed.
Activist Xencor Polgi questioned the absence of CM Pramod Sawant at the meet even though he claims that Mhadei is more than a mother to him.
“As the politicians have failed to protect Mhadei, it is the people who have taken the lead and politicians should extend their support to the movement,” Polgi stated.
Opining that future battles would be fought on water, GAKUVED spokesperson Govind Shirodkar said that it appears that such a battle is starting in Goa.
Earlier, the meeting began with school children singing songs and presenting skits based on Mhadei.
Famed tiatrist Francis de Tuem also sang a Konkani song dedicated to the cause.
Also, as a symbolic gesture of unity among Goans, water from all twelve talukas was poured in one big utensil.
Goencho Ramponnkaracho Ekvott General Secretary Olencio Simoes highlighted how the Centre has been systematically finishing Goa from 2015 with projects like river nationalization, three linear projects, Sagarmala project, Major Ports Authority Bill and now approving Karnataka’s DPR on Mhadei.
“If it gets through, then inland fisheries will be finished and it will prove to be an environmental disaster,” he added.
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