Panaji, Mar 24 (PTI) Goa Minister Vinod Palyekar today apologised for his remark that the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal had a “soft corner” towards the tourist state which is locked in a bitter row with neighbouring Karnataka.

The water resources minister said it was a “mistake” on his part to give such a statement and maintained he did not intend to show any disrespect to judiciary or judges.

The tribunal is hearing an old dispute between Goa and Karnataka over sharing of water of the Mahadayi river (called Mandovi in the tiny coastal state).

“I will never disrespect judiciary or Judges. If I have said something in the flow of speech then I am sorry. I uttered it by mistake,” Palyekar told reporters here.

“But whatever I said or I say is always in favour of Goa,” maintained the minister, who belongs to the Goa Forward Party (GFP), an ally of the ruling BJP.

Palyekar, speaking at an event organised to celebrate the World Water Day two days ago, had said “God will give us success in this case because even the judges on the tribunal know what the truth is and they have a soft corner towards Goa.”

The hearing on the issue is reportedly in the final stages. Goa has accused Karnataka of diverting the Mahadayi water for irrigation.

The issue of sharing the river water between Karnataka and Goa – two out of three riparian states of the Mahadayi – came to the fore again after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar wrote a letter in December last year. Maharashtra is the other riparian state.

In his letter to Karnataka BJP president B S Yeddyurappa, Parrikar had said he would allow sharing of the river water for drinking purposes only.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had dismissed Parrikar’s letter as an “electoral gambit” as the southern state is going to polls this year.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.