Mangaluru, Feb 19, 2016: As per reports, the Congress and the BJP both have avoided the Yettinahole project issue during the campaign for Feb 20, election to the zilla and taluk panchayats, even as Dakshina Kannada observed a total bandh against the project two years ago. The bandh was observed when the government laid the foundation stone for the project at Chikkaballapur on March 2, 2014.
Former Chief Ministers — M. Veerappa Moily, now Chikkaballapur MP, and BJP’s D.V. Sadananda Gowda — staunch supporters of the project, stayed away from the campaign in the district.
It is feared that Yettinahole project, aimed at drawing about 24 tmcft of water from the tributaries of Nethravati river for parched districts, would dry up the river – a lifeline that Mangaluru depends solely on for drinking water.
The BJP had led a four-day padayatra from the city to the borders of Hassan district in Gundia from October 10, 2015 opposing the project. But the party’s manifesto for the local body elections in the district released a week ago refrained from directly mentioning its stand on the project.
It vaguely mentioned that the party was determined to form public opinion and fight against projects that harmed the environment. “This shows the double standards of the BJP on the project,” alleged Shashidhar Shetty, a green activist of Sahyadri Sanchaya that has been spearheading a campaign against the project.
With the government headed by D V S Gowda giving administrative approval for the project and its other leaders like former minister C.T. Ravi strongly supporting the project, how could the BJP have a clear stand, questioned Shetty.
Both former Chief Ministers not taking part in the election campaign showed that the Congress and the BJP were worried that their presence would result in loss of votes as they have faced stiff opposition by the activists earlier, alleged Shetty.
The Congress manifesto too did not talk about the project too.