The Mhadei River water diversion dispute has now reached all sections of Goan society. Goans are strongly against the river water diversion to Karnataka. Several activists – women, youth and senior citizens are openly supporting Goa's Save Mhadei River movement.
Yesterday, however, a video went viral wherein an officer of the education department is seen warning students not to take part in any competition or activities pertaining to the Mhadei River water dispute.
Prominent Goans from various parts of Goa are expressing dismay over this incident.
On Monday, Goa Forward Party's environment division convenor Vikas Bhagat stated in a press conference with regard to this viral video that Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant had said, "River Mhadei is my mother.”
Why then are his department officers barring students from taking part in the elocution competition on the subject of the Mhadei River which will be held on March 1?
Bhagat further questioned, “Aren't students supposed to know the facts about the Mhadei issue? These students will become citizens of this country. Their freedom to know the about the issue and express their views should not be barred."
Meanwhile, several prominent individuals also expressed their views on this incident.
Rajendra Kerkar, an environmentalist from Keri and a prominent figure in the Mhadei River issue, said that it is the constitutional right of the citizen to fight and safeguard the environment. Every Goan has a right to know and create awareness on the Mhadei River issue.
If any video has surfaced barring students and teachers from taking part in a competition based on the Mhadei River issue, then it is sabotaging constitutional rights.
Pradil Kakodkar, chairman of the New Educational Institute Committee, Curchorem, said, “In fact, the state government should encourage students to know more about the Mhadei water dispute.”
He went on to say, “But if the state government is barring students from participating in competitions based on the Mhadei issue, then it is a sorry state of affairs.”
Narayan Rathwad, a retired teacher from Mapusa, opined that the Mhadei River dispute movement is picking up in Goa. People are actively coming out in support of this issue.
If teachers and students take part in this movement, it will create strong pressure on the state government.
“Considering this fact, maybe there are efforts to cow down this movement. It seems that the Mhadei River issue has slipped from the hands of the Goa government,” said Rathwad.
Anant Agni, the headmaster of Ravindra Kelekar Dnyanmandir, Margao, said that the Mhadei River issue is related to the environment. It is the duty of any educational institution to encourage students to know and analyse such environmental issues.
If the education department is trying to prevent students from taking part in competitions based on the Mhadei issue, it is unfortunate.