Tribunals not solution to water disputes: Patkar
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Last Updated: Sunday, December 20, 2009, 23:52
Panaji: Noted social activist Medha Patkar on Sunday said water disputes should be solved through basin level consultations and tribunals formed by the Centre are mere political processes.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan founder was reacting to the Centre's decision on December 10 to constitute Mhadei water dispute tribunal to resolve long pending issue between Goa and Karnataka on distribution of river water, which originates in Karnataka and falls in Arabian Sea in Goa.

"Don't depend only on tribunals to resolve the disputes. They are basically political processes and without any representation to communities," the 54-year-old leader said.

She said tribunals only listen to the state governments and they don't go to the communities.

"Don't only depend on tribunals as those may be trials as a part of political process," Patkar, who was in Goa to participate in the people's audit on SEZ, said.

"State is represented on these tribunals by chief engineers, politicians and their advocates not the community. Local advocacy has to come from people and people only," she added.

Patkar said states should not be the criteria to decide water distribution but it should be river basins.

"There should be basin level consultations that will bring decentralised management," the social activist said.

Commenting on Goa-Karnataka water dispute, she said state versus state is not the right kind of situation to solve river disputes.

"There should be equitable distribution of waters and proper use which can be done by damming water at thousand places and not at one point," Patkar said.

She said the tribunals can resolve political conflicts, but they don't bring out actual data.

"This has been an experience in the past. Narmada tribunal took 10 years to give its verdict. Political conflicts are created to control and mesmerise the population," she said.


First Published: Sunday, December 20, 2009, 23:52

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