Mangaluru, Nov 23, 2015 : While the National Green Tribunal has ordered status quo regarding the Yettinahole diversion project, a group of activists went on a rally to protest against the project on Nov 22 Sunday.
At least 23 motorcyclists took part in the rally organised by Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya, a registered forum of artists. The rally started from Mangala Stadium in the city and ended at Hebbasale near Sakaleshpur, which was about 130 km away.
The State government is spending Rs. 1,300 crore for the project proposed to meet drinking water requirements of the arid areas of Kolar, Chickballapur and Bengaluru Rural. Based on a statement by the project implementing agency Karnataka Neeravai Nigam Lts, the Division Bench of the Green Tribunal’s South Zone has ordered status quo, stop construction, on the project few days ago.
The rally was flagged off by Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP. Talking to reporters, Mr. Nalin said he was committed towards the cause of activists fighting against the Yettinahole diversion project. The project would not only dry up the Netravathi but would also cause extensive damage to the Western Ghats.
He said he would raise the issue of the project in the Parliament and take a delegation of MPs to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also vowed to launch an intensive agitation against the project.
Purushottam Chitrapura, Deputy Mayor and a petitioner before the Tribunal, also took part in the rally. Mr. Purushottam said they were collecting photographs of the work reportedly carried out by the Karnataka Niravari Nigam in violation of the status quo ordered by the Tribunal. These photographs would be produced during the next hearing on December 7.
After leaving Mangala Stadium around 8 a.m., the motorcyclists stopped briefly at B.C. Road and Bantwal where a few more riders joined them. They stopped at Yettinahole – a stream joining the Netravathi off the Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway – and offered prayers for stopping the project.
The motorcyclists then went to Hebbasale where long pipes have been stocked for use in the project. The motorcyclists returned to Mangaluru around 8 p.m. It was a peaceful protest.