NATIONAL

We'll not allow diversion of Mahadayi waters: Sonia

Special Correspondent

Congress-led Government has drawn flak over issue

PANAJI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has assured Goans that the Congress will not allow diversion of the waters of the river Mahadayi.

Addressing an election rally at Margao in south Goa on Tuesday, she asserted, "We are committed not to allow river water diversion."

The issue of diversion of Mahadayi waters, locked now in an inter-state dispute between Karnataka and Goa, carries immense significance to the ruling Congress-led Government in the State.

Criticism

The Opposition has repeatedly accused the Government of failing to protect Goa's interest when the Government of Karnataka announced some time back that it intended to go ahead with some of the projects in the Mahadayi basin despite Goa's protests. The issue is at present in the apex court.

Apparently countering the challenge posed to the Congress by rebel Congress leader Churchill Alemao through his "Save Goa" outfit in the current Assembly election, Ms. Gandhi said tourism is the most important economic activity for Goa and the Congress will continue to support it.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party earlier countered Mr. Alemao's propaganda that the Alliance Government would scrap the existing Dabolim airport in the event of construction of Mopa airport stating that once the Dabolim airport in south Goa was upgraded to world standards, it would be open for civil operations for 24 hours making Goa a gateway for the rest of the world.

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