Mangaluru: Jan 1, 2017: Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment B Ramanath Rai on Saturday dared the Central government to stop the Yettinahole drinking water project.
Answering a journalist’s query, Rai said he was unaware of the remark made by Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave at Moodbidri on Friday that the Central government hadn’t given permission for felling of trees for the Yettinahole project. But he dared the Centre to stop the project if the Ministry of Environment and Forests hadn’t okayed it.
When journalists asked him whether the Union minister had lied about the MoEF permission, Rai evaded a direct answer and merely said, “It’s common sense that no project can be implemented without approval from the Centre.”
Stating that politicians of all parties as well as environmentalists are “misleading” people on the Yettinahole project, Rai said, “No party, which comes to power in the state, can stop the project from seeing the light of day.”
Without naming former MLA K Vijay Kumar Shetty who is leading the anti-Yettinahole movement as president of Netravathi Rakshana Samyukta Samiti and who recently criticised Rai, the minister said, “I deny whatever allegations he has made against me before the media.”
Rai said that he had arranged a meeting of local politicians with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru but the participants gave contradictory statements to the media.
Accusing the BJP of “misleading” the people on the Yettinahole project to “draw political mileage”, Rai said, “It was on July 13, 2012, when the BJP was in power, that administrative approval was given to the project following submission of revised estimates.”
When asked about allegations that some minister received kickbacks to support the project, Rai said, “If anybody has committed irregularities, they must be punished.”