November 02 2019: The controversial Yettinahole project, which got National Green Tribunal (NGT) clearance in March this year, has hit a 5,278-acre land acquisition hurdle near Doddaballapur in Bengaluru Rural district.
The government needs this land to build a reservoir at Byragondlu, which will be crucial for ensuring water supply to the burgeoning outskirts of Bengaluru and surrounding districts. Ecologists, however, fear that the project will harm a portion of the Western Ghats.
According to officials, the problem has been ensuing for over a year now. The frequent change of governments has not helped. The issue is currently pending before a Cabinet sub-committee headed by CM B S Yediyurappa.
“In the previous government, there was a committee headed by G Parameshwara. Once the government changed, a new committee was constituted. The discussion is yet to be taken forward,” a senior official said, requesting anonymity.
The roadblock is over the compensation offered to land owners as per the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, as per which compensation is up to four times the market value in rural areas.
The proposed reservoir falls under the jurisdiction of two taluks — Doddaballapur in Bengaluru Rural district and Koratagere in Tumakuru district. The land needed in Koratagere is 2,681 acres and 2,797 acres in Doddaballapur.
“Land owners in both taluks have demanded uniform compensation,” Lakshman Rao Peshve, Managing Director of Visvesvaraya Jala Nigam, said.
While the guidance value for land is more in Doddaballapur owing to its proximity to the KIA, land owners in Koratagere have also demanded a similar price, according to officials in Jala Nigam.
The deadlock continues as the government does not want to set a precedent by giving uniform compensation. But if the government does that, it will cost an estimated Rs 1,625 crore.
The Byragondlu reservoir, which will come up at a cost of Rs 592 crores, will provide water supply Devanahalli Industrial Area, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts. The rest of the districts including Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Ramanagara will get water through the gravity canal.
The progress so far
Following the NGT nod, the government has already issued tenders for gravity canal construction for a stretch of
240 km, out of a total of 260 km. Works have begun at certain parts (57 km), officials said.
Officials hope to complete the first phase of work by June 2020. This includes the lift component work, taken up at a cost of Rs 3716.49 crore.
There are four streams that come together for lifting water for the project: Yettinahole, Kadumanehole, Kerehole and Vangada halla.
The ambitious project is estimated to cater to drinking water needs by providing 24.01 TMC of water to 68.35 lakh people living in seven districts. This apart, 527 micro irrigation tanks will be filled to recharge groundwater levels in these districts.