The tempers are rising over the Mhadei issue between Goa and Karnataka.
On Tuesday, a verbal spat was witnessed at the proposed Mhadei diversion site at Kalsa, Kankumbi between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders from Goa, environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar and Karnataka government officials.
The commotion started when Karnataka officials objected to the presence of AAP leaders led by MLAs Venzy Viegas, Cruz Silva and AAP Goa convener Amit Palekar.
AAP leader from Canacona, Sandesh Telekar, who was present, said the officials, most likely from the Karnataka irrigation department, spoke brashly and questioned their presence.
The officials questioned the AAP leaders as to whether they had taken any permission before visiting the site as the Kalsa-Bhandura Project work matter was subjudice.
The Goa delegation impressed upon them that as per the constitution, Indian citizens do not need any permission to visit any public place anywhere in the country.
Venzy, who appeared perturbed after the visit, said, “It was shocking to see these 'crime scenes' of the destruction of our Mhadei river.”
It is learnt the Karnataka officials later sofetned their stand when the AAP leaders challenged them.
Meanwhile, environmentalist Kerkar, who has been following up the issue for the past several decades, has advised the Goa government to put in efforts to make Goa’s case strong before the Supreme Court.
In addition to the salinity study undertaken by the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, Kerkar advised the government to get a study done through NIO Goa.
He also lamented that the state does not have an appropriate mechanism to keep a tab on the ongoing work at the controversial site, while Karnataka was more vigilant.
Goa govt has to strengthen its stand or else the state may lose more water to Karnataka, he warned.
Kerkar said that the Kalsa-Bhandura project work is not going on at the disputed site presently.