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Twin Villagers join protest to protect Mhadei waters

PassengersNearly 115 people from the twin villages of Guirdolim and Chandor-Cavorim participated in the rally held at Sanquelim on 16th January 2923 to protest against the attempts to divert waters of River Mhadei to Karnataka. While 105 travelled to the venue in the three buses hired for the purpose, others travelled in their own vehicles.



JohnFounder member and former President of Ganv Bhavancho Ekvott John Douglas Coutinho was up on the stage twice. Once for symbolically putting water in a bann kept on the stage to symbolize waters of all the rivers of Goa and secondly when the motion opposing the water diversion was being adopted.

GBE General secretary Francis Coutinho along with members Jose Coutinho, Menino alias Minush Gomes, Gidwan D’Costa, Savio D’Costa, Mickson Fernandes and Francis alias Hanchik Peixoto along with Chandor Club General Secretary Joy D’Silva were volunteers at the site at Sanquelim. Both GBE and Chandor Club are associated members of Goenkar Ek Pavl Ekcharachem which was joint organisers of the rally.

Bus 2Incidentally GBE sponsored four buses to transport people to Sanquelim. While three buses were to take residents of the twin villages of Guirdolim and Chandor-Cavorim, one was to take the people from Avedem-Cotombi. Besides, GBE also sponsored the entire rally at Sanquelim and paid for the cost of most of the arrangements so as to keep the entire movement apolitical and not take any money from political parties.

Bus 1The rally convened by  save Goa Mhadei Save Goa Front also saw two panchas of Chandor Cavorim namely former sarpanch and present panch Derrick Braganza Pereira and Fiel Babazinho Dias and three panchas of Guirdolim namely, Acting Sarpanch Joao Peixoto, former sarpanch and present panch Flavia Maria Fijardo and pancha Milagrina Gomes e D’Costa participating in the rally.

Guirdolim Sarpanch Sonia Fernandes could not participate as her ailing husband passed away the same day and Chandor Cavorim Sarpanch Estefanio Dias could not participate due to health issues.



crowd 2The nearly four hour long rally held at Sanquelim which is represented by Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant had over 10,000 people from all over Goa gathering at an open ground despite efforts by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government to scuttle it by even cancelling the permission given earlier, thus compelling the organisers to change the venue and rush to comply with the laws of the land.

The gathered crowd patiently listened to the 20 speakers, witnessed the three acts by children, listened to the song by Francis de Tuem and also witnessed the symbolic pouring of water into a bann kept on the dais to symbolize the unity of the entire Goan population. At the end of the crowd very respectfully stood and raised their hands to express their support to the resolution adopted demanding cancellation of the sanction granted to Karnataka by the Central Water Commission.

Six of the seven opposition MLAs were present for the rally with the lone exception being Revolutionary Goan Party MLA Viresh Borkar. The MLAs present were Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao, Adv. Carlos Ferreira and Altone D’Costa of the Indian National Congress Party, Capt Venzy Viegas and Cruz Silva of the Aam Aadmi Party and Vijai Sardessai of the Goa Forward Party.

Rajendra KerkarRajendra Kerkar the key speaker who spoke last, in his 35 minute address cautioned that not only the Mandovi river but all the rivers in Goa were under threat as the neighbouring States of Maharashtra and Karnataka have been consistently working to divert water from the source of rivers running through the State and revealed that Maharashtra has already diverted waters from the Terekhol and Colvale rivers in North Goa.

He lamented that Goa government has failed to declare the forested areas of the Western Ghats as UNESCO site for preservation which is why he said the rivers are under a threat and pointed out that neighbours Karnataka and Maharashtra has already declared their forests as UNESCO sites and hence they are protected.

He appealed to the MLAs to pursue this matter and suggested that declaring a tiger reserve in Goa would help preserve the fragile ecology that is currently under threat.

He asserted that the permission given by the Central Water Commission to Karnataka was patently illegal and pointed out that there was no mention at all of rivulet Surla in the allocation made by the Mhadei Water Tribunal which is however mentioned in the permission now granted to Karnataka.

He also emphasized that Karnataka was not being truthful in its claim that the water is required to provide drinking water to Dharwad as it is wasting available water on water guzzling crops and also having another source to provide water to Dharwad district. He also pointed out that Karnataka has water disputes with its larger neighbours Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Besides, Rajendra lamented that Goa has not maintained its rivers properly and cited the example of River Sal which has literally turned into a sewer from Margao onwards. He disclosed that eight rivers from Goa are included in the 231 polluted rivers of the country. Incidentally Rajendra who is the convener of Goa River Conservation Network has been studying Goan rivers for the last 25 years.

VijaiVijai Sardessai speaking on behalf of the MLAs present declared that the government was given a fortnight to withdraw the sanction granted to Karnataka, failing which he said it was up to the Goan population to call for a Goa Bandh.

He said he was willing to resign as an MLA along with other MLAs from Goa to create a constitutional crisis to draw the centre’s attention to this problem faced by the State and its inhabitants.

Dismissing Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant’s claim that the Congress Party had sold Mhadei waters to Karnataka, he pointed out that the Congressmen who ruled Goa then like then Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, then Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Shirodkar were with the BJP now and the then Speaker Pratapsing Rane’s son is BJP’s very strong and loyal minister at the moment. His jibe whether Dr Sawant was the chief minister of Goa or of Sawantwadi evoked a thunderous applause.

Prashant NaikFiery speaker Prashant Naik speaking for Save Mhadei Save Goa Trust in his 4.40 minute address argued that the sanction granted by the Central Water Commission was totally illegal as all the three parties to the order passed by the Mhadei Water Tribal has been challenged by all the three parties involved in it which are Maharashtra, Goa and even Karnataka.

While congratulating the crowd gathered and thanking those who worked hard to arrange the crowd, said henceforth the issue of Mhadei will have to be taken to the grassroots by holding meetings in the villages.

(KIRTI) Former cricketer, former minister and presently in charge of Goa for All India Trinamool Congress Kirtivardhan Bhagwat Jha Azad better known as Kirti Azad also addressed the crowd and pointed out that by virtue of being a part of the Indian Cricket team he was a native of the whole country and hence part of Goa.

He cautioned that diversion of Mhadei waters would adversely affect tourism which is presently the main economic activity of Goa and therefore said that all true loving Goans should fight against the nefarious plans to divert the waters of Mhadei.

Rajesh Sawal chairman of Sanquelim Municipal Council in his welcome address revealed that the council was not taken into confidence when the license granted to hold the meeting at the council was cancelled. He squarely charged Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant of politicizing the issue.

PrajalNoted historian Prajal Sakhardande in his 4 minute address pointed out that Mhadei waters cater to six talukas in Goa which he said will be parched in Karnataka’s claim to provide drinking water to only one district. Besides, he revealed that Karnataka has other sources from where water can be provided to the Dharwad district.

Hrudaynath ShirodkarIn his 8 minute speech Adv. Hrudaynath Shirodkar lamented that the Goa government is not fighting the battle against diversion of Mhadei waters in a proper manner and opined that Goans may have to go to Kankumbi to protect their lifeline.

He also suggested that Goans call on each of the 40 MLAs to compel them to fight the battle properly and in Goa’s interest and said these visits should not be private but public with large crowds visiting their residences together.

Damodar MauzoDnyanpith award winner and noted Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo in his 5:06 minute speech recalled that in 1067 also during the Opinion Poll there were people discouraging those fighting the merger just as today people are saying that the battle to save Mhadei will be futile. While urging those gathered not to fall prey to such elements, he said it was time to know all and do all.

SimoesOlencio Simoes of the Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott in a hard hitting 5:16 minute speech exposed how the BJP has been very systematically destroying Goa since 2015 and listed out the various anti Goa and against Goan interest actions undertaken by the BJP every year.

Sagarmala project, National Waterworks Act, MPT expansion, 3 linear projects, Coastal Regulation Zone dilution, bringing Goa under the Major Ports Authority and now the diversion of Mhadei waters were listed by him as BJP’s destructive plans for Goa. He cautioned that the riverine aquaculture in Goa will be destroyed and further said the diversion of Mhadei waters could spell the death knell for around 50 fish species in Goa.

Fr Bolmax PereiraFr. Bolmax Pereira in his 9:50 minute speech clarified that though the rally was not political, the issue of diverting Mhadei waters needed a political solution. He castigated Dr Pramod Sawant for not even honouring orders of the Supreme Court with regards to the obnoxious double tracking of the railway line.

While accusing the government at the Centre of seeking to divide the people of Karnataka and Goa through their divisive tactics he suggested that the Goa MLAs should resign en masse to create a constitutional crisis.


Datta NaikSpeaking for Dakshinayan Datta Naik in his 3”28 minute address pointed out that India has never blocked the flow of waters in the rivers passing to Pakistan despite the enmity between the two countries and wondered how Karnataka could interfere with the flow of water to the river in Goa.

While pointing out that the word “rival” originated from “river” he said going by BJP’s present policies there may be no water left in the rivers to enable the party to indulge in its favourite activity of constructing bridges.


Subhash Velingkar’s 4:45 minute address was mostly drowned with jeers and heckling but he continued unfazed. The crowd was probably showing its displeasure to him for his statement in the past that St Francis Xavier should not be called Goencho Saib that had evoked great controversy.

crowdThe gathered crowd attentively listened to social activists Shankar Polgi (4 minutes), Shaikh Iftikar (3:25 minutes), Tara Kerkar (3 minutes), Tanoj Advalpalkar (2:30 minutes) and Rama Kankonkar (4:30 minutes) along with Sharan Metri of the Kanada Dhangar Samaj (3 minutes) who revealed that there are 3 lakh dhangars from Karnataka living in Goa, Govind Shirodkar of Gawda Kunbi Dhangar Samaj who cautioned that local fish like kalundaram and xevte will be extinguished if the water is diverted, Sunita Verenkar former chairperson of Sanquelim Municipal Council (4:30 minutes).


The rally that was very competently compered by Anant Agni of the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, began with a song and dance on Mhadei, a skit on the fate of the river and also a folk song on it. All these were performed by students of Ravindra Kelekar Dnyanmandir, Margao which is managed by Konkani Bhasha Mandal. Popular political song composer and singer Francis de Tuem sang a song which was much appreciated by the gathered crowd. Incidentally Norman Cardoso provided the music to his singing.