Gimmicks won’t help parched north Karnataka

The Mahadayi water dispute has the potential to decide the fate of parties in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls.
The last few weeks have seen political gimmickry over the crucial issue of water for a parched region, but we are no closer to finding a solution than we were before.
The dispute is about sharing the waters of the Mahadayi river that originates in Karnataka and flows into Goa.
The tribunal has already rejected Karnataka’s plea to draw 7.56 tmcft of water; the final hearing will begin on February 6.
Farmers demanding the project’s implementation have been on a protest for over two years now; with no end in sight, the agitations have often turned violent.
The BJP recently got Goa CM Manohar Parrikar to write a letter to its Karnataka unit president B S Yeddyurappa, assuring the latter he would consider Karnataka’s demand for drinking water.
Goa had earlier consistently resisted attempts to reach a negotiated settlement; so this move is a political ploy ahead of polls.
The Congress said Parrikar should have written to his Karnataka counterpart if he was sincere about resolving the issue, leading to a blame game.
The farmers, seeing the emptiness of the gesture, escalated their agitation, leading to an ugly standoff at the BJP office in Bengaluru.
Whatever the tribunal decides, the best solution can only come out of negotiations that take into account the needs of people in both states.

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