Mangaluru, Sep 15, 2016: Addressing media at Urwa Marigudi Temple premises in Mangaluru on Sept 14, Wednesday, the petitioner against the state government on Yettinahole project K N Somashekhar asked District In-charge and Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai to reveal his share in Yettinahole project.
Somashekhar said that Rai, being the Forest minister, instead of protecting forests, has given permission from his department to fell trees unabated in Yettinahole project site. The contractors have violated the directions by the court which prohibited legal or illegal cutting of trees in the project site.
Moreover, decision was taken by the state government at a review meeting held on September 2 to initiate action against a honest range forest officer of Sakaleshpur who stopped the contractors from cutting trees, following court orders. FIR has been registered in this case.
But, the state government has ordered for an inquiry against the RFO, Somashekhar said. The forest minister, who was present at the meeting did not object to the decision, even after being the Forest minister, which shows that he is hand in gloves with the contractors who have availed contract for felling trees in the project site. The minister must reveal the amount he has taken from the contractors, Somashekhar said.
A fraud project : Terming Yettinahole as a fraudulent project, he said that Irrigation Minister M B Patil must be held responsible for the misappropriation in the project funds, in which the officials of Karnataka Neeravari Nigama Ltd have a big role to play.
He further said that while investigating the interim plea, the court passed an interim order on June 29, issuing directions that no trees should be felled legally or illegally in the project site. The court also directed to assess the number of felled trees and submit a report in this connection by September 21. Also that the afforestation must be done in 1:10 ratio. Referring to the probe order issued by the Maharashtra government recently on the drinking water and irrigation projects of Rs 70,000 crore, he said that the state government too, should order for a probe on Yettinahole project.
The 173 lift irrigation projects carried out at a cost of Rs 2,25,000 crore are defunct and this has been revealed by the reports submitted by the irrigation department itself, he said. Paschimaghatta Samrakshana Horata Vedike office-bearers Nagesh Angirasa, fisheries community leaders Ramachander Baikampadi and Vasudeva Boloor were present on the occasion.