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Goa Assembly Unanimously Passes Bill Extending SC/ST Quota in Legislatures by Another 10 Years

File photo of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

File photo of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

Ahead of the discussion on the SC/ST quota in legislatures, Speaker Rajesh Patnekar disallowed an adjournment notice submitted by the opposition parties on the Mahadayi water diversion issue which was discussed later.

Panaji: Goa Assembly on Tuesday ratified the constitutional amendment bill that extends reservations to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies by another 10 years.

Speaker Rajesh Patnekar disallowed the adjournment notice submitted by the opposition parties on the Mahadayi water diversion issue, saying one-day session of the Assembly was called by the state governor for ratifying the bill for extending the SC/ST quota in legislatures.

Chief Minister tabled the constitutional amendment bill which was unanimously passed by the House. Some of the MLAs, including state Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar, wanted to discuss the bill in the House but the Speaker said the session was only for its ratification.

"It is just a renewal and ratification, there is no need for discussion," he said. He disallowed the adjournment notice submitted by the opposition on the Mahadayi diversion issue, saying, "Members can raise the issue and discuss on various parliamentary devices. The matter is urgent only if it is of very recent occurrence, this matter is not of recent occurrence."

"This is a special session called for a central government's amendment, so I disallow the adjournment notice," he said. The opposition members, led by Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat and Goa Forward Party (GFP) MLA Vijai Sardesai, then shouted slogans in the House demanding that the Mahadayi river be protected from being diverted by Karnataka.

Urging the speaker to take up the adjournment notice, Kamat said, "It is an important issue before the state which needs to be discussed in the House." Recalling Chief Minister Pramod Sawant's statement that "Mahadayi is like a mother for me", Sardesai said, "We feel Goa has been cheated on the issue. The governor himself has made this statement. We want a discussion on the issue."

Responding to it, Sawant reiterated that the Mahadayi river is "more than a mother" for him. "We are ready to do whatever that needs to be done for Mahadayi," he said. Earlier addressing the House, Governor Satya Pal Malik said the Goa government has been making efforts to prevent diversion of the Mahadayi water outside the river basin.

The state has also sought a clarification from the Inter-State Water Dispute tribunal over its order on the water diversion issue, he said. The government is conscious about the issue, which affects every Goan, he said.

"The dispute is about sharing water. Efforts of my government are to prevent water diversion outside the river basin. The tribunal gave its award. Goa has requested for a clarification from the tribunal," he said.

He said the state has also filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, he said. Before the commencement of the session in the morning, the opposition parties submitted an adjournment notice on the

Mahadayi water diversion issue to Patnekar.

The notice mentioned that the House be adjourned to discuss the approval/NOC given to Karnataka by Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry for taking up the "so called" drinking water project on the Mahadayi river.

It also said that there is "likelihood of misuse of approval/NOC for setting up irrigation project by Karnataka". Goa and Karnataka are locked in a dispute over sharing of the Mahadayi river water. Goa is strongly opposing the Kalasa Banduri project proposed to be built by Karnataka on the river.

The project is aimed at providing drinking water to three north Karnataka districts by diverting water from the Mahadayi, the lifeline of Goa, into the Malaprabha river. The Goa government has already challenged before the Supreme Court the order of the Inter-State Water Dispute Tribunal which allowed Karnataka to divert a certain amount of water from the river.

first published:January 07, 2020, 16:07 IST