Expressing disapprovement over the blocking of Tillari dam water by the farmers of the Sidhudurg region in Maharashtra, depriving the Goa farmers of water, the State BJP president, Vinay Tendulkar has threatened to stop patients from border areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka from availing medical aid from Goa Medical College and Hospital.
He said that the step would help in underlining the urgency of the issue and highlight that people of Maharashtra cannot consider Goa to ransom. “We expect Maharashtra to release water within the next two to three days as per the given assurance by the Maharashtra Chief Minister to Manohar Parrikar,” Tendulkar said. “If they do not honour their promise, we will have no option but to prevent people from Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra from availing of free medical treatment offered by the Goa Government at the Goa Medical College in Panaji,” he added. Not only people from Goa, but from neighbouring States as well come to GMC to avail its free medical facility.
However, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar chose to distance himself from the statement of his party’s president. “He has made the statement, you should be asking him. I was not present. In any case, facilities other than emergency services are meant for Goa patients only and not others,” Parrikar said.
Farmer’s from Sindhudurg region have been observing a dharna inside the Tillari left bank canal preventing the authorities from releasing water towards Goa. They were the residents of Bodade, a village which was submerged in the reservoir of the dam and were demanding jobs and compensation. The dam and irrigation project is a joint venture between the Goa and Maharashtra Governments and the water is to be shared according to an agreement signed between the two Governments in the 1970s. The agreement was to build a dam with giving Goa 73 per cent share of the water. The river from the canal provides water for irrigation as well as drinking to three sub districts in the North Goa district namely, Bicholim, Pernem and Bardez. The latter two are the main tourist destinations of Goa. The Tillari dam project of `1,612 crore, located in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra was commissioned in May 2009 and is aimed at fulfilling the potable water needs of South Maharashtra and North Goa.