Mangaluru, Dec 29, 2016: Food and Civil Supplies Minister U.T. Khader on Wednesday alleged that activists who are opposed to the Yettinahole project have political motives.
Speaking to presspersons after inaugurating an exhibition of government programmes at Kadri Park, Mr. Khader said the meeting on the project convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on December 26 went off peacefully and the activists concurred with the presentation made by experts. He claimed that no opposing voices were raised during the meeting. “They only raised issues after coming out. There is a political motive to this,” he said.
Disputing this claim, Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, said he and other activists had raised some fundamental questions, including on the yield of 24 tmcft of water and on the claim that there would be no harm to the Western Ghats. “Mr. Siddaramiah avoided our questions and abruptly ended the meeting,” he said.
Mr. Kateel said that at the meeting, differences within the Congress too were exposed, with senior party leader Vijaykumar Shetty allegedly being openly rebuked by Forest Minister B. Ramanath Rai.
Activist Niranjan Rai said it was unfortunate that Ministers such as Mr. Rai and Mr. Khader had failed to understand the concerns raised by activists. Another activist, Dinesh Holla, said Mr. Siddaramaiah and Irrigation Minister M.B. Patil did not hear them out when they pointed out the “grave aberrations” in the presentation.
Seers oppose Yettinahole project at green conference
Bringing up the Yettinahole project at a green conference here on Wednesday, Moodbidri Jain Mutt seer Bhattaraka Charukeerti Panditacharayavarya questioned the State government’s plans to go ahead with the project in spite of opposition from scientists.
Speaking at the inauguration of the four-day 10th Biennial Lake Conference, which focuses on ‘Conservation and sustainable management of ecologically sensitive regions in the Western Ghats’, the seer said some scientists had been arguing that the project is not feasible and would not yield enough water for diversion to the parched districts in the southern part of the State. But, ignoring these views, the government was going ahead with the project, he said.
Extending his support to the fight against the project, the seer of Sonda Swarnavalli Mutt, Sirsi Gangadharendra Saraswati, expressed the fear that if water from the streams in the Western Ghats is diverted through the Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project, the government’s next step would be to take up a similar project in Uttara Kannada district.
He said the people of Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada should support each other and oppose river diversion projects.
Stressing the need to conserve lakes, he said the number of major lakes (tanks and waterbodies) in Uttara Kannada had fallen from 1,468 in the 1970s to 620 now.
The number of minor lakes has come down from 1,049 to 489 during the same period.
“This is because of urbanisation, encroachment and the government’s failure in taking strict legal measures to stop encroachment,” he said.
The conference is being organised by the Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and Alva’s Education Foundation.
K. Byrappa, Vice-Chancellor of Mangalore University, inaugurated the conference and spoke on the need to harness solar power.
Opposing the government’s plan to develop a port at Tadadi in Uttara Kannada, T.V. Ramachandra, professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, said it would damage the ecological sensitivity of the region.
Courtesy: The Hindu