Goan environmentalist Rajendra P Kerkar emphasised that if we do not unite to save the Mhadei River, it will be too late for us to salvage the future of Goa. The Karnataka government is rampantly building more than 12 dams on the banks of the Mhadei River and trying to divert large quantities of water to Karnataka. If Karnataka succeeds in diverting Mhadei's water, it will badly impact the 12 rivers from Goa and the biodiversity surrounding them, says Kerkar.
Rajendra Kerkar, during his talk on the Mhadei River, said, "Goan politicians are ignorant and have a negligent attitude towards environmental issues such as the Mhadei River water diversion.
Therefore, these politicians go easy on the Mhadei issue.” He further said that the Goa government is being duplicitous in pretending to be unaware of the Mhadei issue.
Kerkar said that people say that the third world war will happen for water, but factually, it has already started. The best example could be the Mhadei water diversion issue, wherein the Karnataka government is building dozens of water dams next to the Mhadei River to divert the water to northern Karnataka.
This issue is before the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court. Goa should remain firm in fighting to save the Mhadei, because if we fail to save Mhadei, then we will fail our future generations.
Kerkar gave PowerPoint presentations wherein he showcased the flora and fauna found in the Western Ghats and in the vicinity of the Mhadei from the point where it originates.
Kerkar also quoted Prof Madhav Gadgil that any sort of water diversion by putting dams in the Western Ghats region will have an adverse impact on the biodiversity of the region.
Later, during the discussion, when the issue of saving the Sal River came up, Kerkar said that he would be interested and would love to help save and revive the Sal.
He said that rivers are an important aspect of the biodiversity of the area, and if rivers begin getting polluted, then it will create health and environmental problems for the people.
Kerkar stated that the Mhadei water diversion issue is not restricted to North Goa, but will also impact the Uguem River in South Goa, which goes to Selaulim. This will create a problem for entire South Goa as these people consume water from the Selaulim Dam.
Vijay Sardessai, Goa Forward Party MLA, said that Goans need to come together, keeping aside political differences, to stand in support to save the Mhadei River for Goa.
He also lashed out at the BJP government, pointing out that there is a lack of political will with the BJP government to save Mhadei for Goa. He also alleged that the state BJP government is trying to neglect this issue because there is a BJP government at the centre and in the states of Karnataka and Goa.
Later, during this event, several people like Capt Viriato Fernandes, Fr Bolmax Pereira, Elvis Gomes and others asked questions and gave their suggestions to save the Mhadei.
It was decided to form a committee to save the river and create awareness all over Goa. The Mhadei issue is to be taken up on a public level and a strong demand is to be created before the government to save the Mhadei.