Mangaluru, May 14, 2016: Addressing a media meet, ’Nethravathi Rakshana Samyukta Samithi’ will organise a protest rally to urge the state government to stop Yettinahole project and save river Nethravathi on May 16, Samithi President Vijay Kumar Shetty said. He said the rally will be taken out from Ambedkar Circle to the DK DC office at 3 pm on that day.
Samithi President Shetty said it is a people’s campaign to save river Nethravathi which is the lifeline of the district and urge the government to stop the Yettinahole project, which is unscientific. People in Dakshina Kannada, particularly in the city, who have been facing water scarcity, have now understood the importance of the Netravathi. It was improper on the part of Minister Rai to state that there was no link between the Yettinahole project and the Netravathi going dry this year.
He said that except the Communist Party of India (Marxists) and the Communist Party of India (CPI), all other parties and many organisations have supported the rally.
He also stated, "The state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, has launched several welfare programmes like Anna Bhagya, Ksheera Bhagya and others. But the government has done injustice to the Dakshina Kannada district through Yettinahole project."
Shetty said, "The elected representatives of the district, especially, District In-charge Minister B Ramanath Rai, has failed to impress upon the chief minister about the ground reality of the Yettinahole project and the condition of water availability in the district. The chief minister had promised to convene a meeting of those who have been opposing the project in the district. But the elected representatives have failed."
M.G. Hegde, a leader of the samithi, alleged that now Ministrers Ramanatha Rai and D.V. Sadananda Gowda, former Chief Minister and now Union Law Minister, were hand-in-glove in justifying the project.
He said the water crisis in the future will worsen in the district if the Yettinahole project is implemented. The action committee has called for a ’voluntary bandh’ to prevail upon the government to drop the project on May 19. Due to water shortage, the hotels and hostels have been closed. If the situation continues, then the district may face severe drought in the future.
Call to Mangalureans : Leader Harikrishna Bantwal called upon the Mangalureans to take part in the rally. The rally should be held as ’Mangaluru Chalo’ to prevail upon the government to stop the implementation of the project. About 70% of Mangalureans depend on Nethravathi river for their daily water requirement. Farmers should also join hands with the Samithi, he added.
Expert Committee : Opposing the expert committee formed by MLC Ivan D’Souza to prepare a comprehensive report on water crisis in the district, leader M G Hegde asked how one can assess the water requirement of the district without Nethravathi river.
He said the three experts, who have been named for the committee --- advocate Dayanath Kotian, professors Vivek Rai and N A Madhyastha --- should come out from the committee. "The experts are stalwarts in their fields. We have a great respect for them. In what capacity has the MLC decided on the expert committee?" he asked.
Samithi’s Satyajith Surathkal said, "The protest against the project will continue till the government stops the Yettinahole project and chalks out an integrated drinking water project for the district. If the government fails to heed to our demand even after the protest and bandh, then the Samithi will step up their struggle."