Mangaluru, Dec 13, 2015: Addressing media, Paschima Ghatta Samrakshana Horata Vedike, Bengaluru, on Dec 11, Friday alleged that the State government has violated Forest Protection Act, Environment Conservation Act, Wildlife Protection Act and related acts, by failing to obtain environment clearances before starting Yettinahole project.
Forum member K N Somashekhar said that there are 10 steps in stage one clearance and all of them have not been fulfilled by the government. Still, it has carried on with the project. Stage two clearance is also obtained in the same fashion, he charged.
According to Madhav Gadgil and Dr K Kasturirangan reports, the project area is in sensitive zone where a lot of rare species of Western Ghats shelter. But the government has deliberately neglected this fact.The project also clearly violates the Water Policy of 2012 of the Union government. The Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd (KNNL) has been submitting the manipulated data to the Green Tribunal. The KNNL has uploaded tampered documents on Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) website, he claimed.
The government has not carried out the environment impact assessment before starting the project. The interim order by the National Green Tribunal has also been violated by the government, Somashekhar alleged.
He said that the government has been misleading people by furnishing false information in the detailed project report. The project has been portrayed as the drinking water project. But, in fact, it is an irrigation project which intends to fill 527 canals. Only 2.81 tmcft of water will be available to Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. According to a government report itself, as many as 1,713 lift irrigation projects worth Rs 2.25 lakh crore have failed. "Then, what is the purpose of carrying out Yettinahole project?" he questioned. Alleging the government of pressurising the officials to provide false documents, he said that in a letter written to Additional Chief Secretary of Government of India on March 29, 2014, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) has said that the project plan of Yettinahole is not in adherence with the Forest Act and 100 acres of forest land would be affected.
But the same PCCF has written another letter on July 22, 2015, recommending the Yettinahole project, which shows how the higher officials are being misused, he charged. The Vedike, the petitioner in the case, had demanded an affidavit from a higher official of KNNL, saying the work will not be presumed. Accordingly, an affidavit was submitted by the chief engineer of the Nigam. But the Nigam has violated it, he claimed.
Legal adviser for Yettinahole Virodhi Horata Prince Isac, C Yathiraju and Nagesh Angirasa were present.
Cong, BJP both responsible: Poojary
Udupi: Former minister B Janardhan Poojary stated that both Congress and BJP are equally responsible for the Yettinahole project. He urged the public to revolt en-masse, as it is the only way to stop the proposed illigal project.
Speaking to media Dec 12, Saturday, the Congress leader added that both the parties are trying to shrug off their responsibilities, which will result in massive environmental disaster in future. The former chief ministers from the coastal belt should have deliberated on the impending threat following the realisation of the project, before going ahead with the it. The river diversion project of Nethravathi would end up in acute shortage of water in the coastal belt of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Nethravathi is the main source of water for this region and the people who claim to divert the direction of the river have no moral rights to do so, as they are in no way responsible for its origin. He questioned the support for the farmers in the area in the aftermath of the river diversion. He said both parties should learn from the natural disasters that took place in Chennai recently and Uttarkand, a few months back.
Asking the chief minister to come out with proper consensus over the project, he said that the government should decide in favour of the environment, people and farmers in the area. He added the Mekedaatu project would be feasible and government should contemplate on introducing the project and drop the river diversion plan.
Poojary said that the rebels in the Congress who are contesting as independents would surely lose, as the voters would teach them a lesson. "Congress workers should always obey the high command. The fight for survival is favourable at one point of time, but beyond that, it would be a form of greed," he said, adding that he had advised Harikrishna Bantwal not to contest.
Bantwal is a committed politician, but contesting the MLC polls is not right. Both Congress and BJP candidate will have an easy victory and the independents will face defeat, he added. He also said that he has many disciples from all over India, referring to the claim of Bantwal stating that Poojary is his teacher.