Bantwal, Mar 9, 2017: Although water is being treated near the exclusive plant at Thumbe vented dam, the quality of water remains a concern, with former minister Krishna J Palemar disclosing reports on the discovery of coliform in the water during tests in laboratories recently. Woes on drinking water front is becoming serious, sewage is allowed to flow into River Nethravathi, the source of drinking water for Mangaluru city.
What assumes significance here is that Bantwal constituency is represented by Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment B Ramanath Rai - also the district in-charge minister. It drove a delegation of BJP leaders led by Deputy Mayor Sumitra Kariya, Opposition leader in MCC council Roopa D Bangera and former MLC Monappa Bhandary to blame Minister Rai for having scant concern for his home town.
Many bad spots : The visiting leaders who took stock of the situation on Wednesday, insisted that there were 18 such places in Bantwal alone, from where sewage is flowing into River Nethravathi.
The river water behind the Atal Behari Vajpayee Commercial Complex at Baddakatte on Bantwal main road, owned by the Town Municipal Council, mirrors the apathy of the representatives. Refuse of various types is found littered around the area near the river. While the solid waste remains unchecked, sewage flows towards the water body, giving the otherwise serene environment a reek.
Local complaints : Even as the visiting delegation and reporters were inspecting the spot, a section of curious people pointed their fingers at spots where poultry and fish waste were dumped into the water.
Strangely, the outlet of sewage pipe laid beneath the complex is also connected towards the river, thanks again to the apathy of the local body. Another such ’red spot’ was located at Kaikunja in Bantwal.
BJP Mangaluru South president Vedavyas Kamath attributed the issue to delay on the part of the state government in setting up a sewage treatment plant (STP) in Bantwal. "The project proposed in the year 2003 at an estimated cost of Rs 35 crore is yet to take off, owing to delay in acquisition of land. In the last 14 years, ever since the project was planned, Ramanath Rai has been at the helm of affairs, except for a brief period when BJP’s B Nagaraj Shetty was the district in-charge minister," said Kamath to a question on why the BJP-led government did not take up the project.
Former MLC Monappa Bhandary, who echoed similar words, said that except for a few manholes in Bantwal, not much has been done to build stormwater drains and also underground drains, with sewage water going unabated towards the river. Apart from Mangaluru city, it is the same water that is being supplied to Ullal, Mulky, Arekala and also Adyar.
Opposition leader Roopa Bangera said, although the laboratory report on the presence of coliform in drinking water was brought to the notice of outgoing Mayor Harinath, it had no bearing on the mayor, who has kept mum. He had also promised to take out a joint inspection irrespective of party, but it did not materialise, she added.
Water may last for 45 days : There is a confusion regarding the water available in the Thumbe vented dam to meet drinking water requirements of Mangaluru city. A visit by a delegation of BJP leaders on Wednesday, however, brought to fore that the water may last for another 40 to 45 days.
Water at the vented dam at 4.65 metres against the maximum storage capacity of five metres, much better positioned when compared to the same month period last year, when less than one metre of water available.