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Yettinahole project, meeting at dead end, Govt rigid, BJP to intensify protest

Yettinahole project, meeting at dead end, Govt rigid, BJP to intensify protest

Mangalore Today News Network

Mangaluru, Dec 27,2016: A series of reports indicates, the state government on Dec 26, Monday faced hurdles in executing the Yettinahole project with BJP, people’s representatives and activists threatening to intensify their opposition against the project in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

yettinaholeA meeting convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with politicians, environmentalists and experts from the coastal region to allay misgivings about the project failed at the very start.  BJP members and Nethravathi Rakshana Samyuktha Samithi (an umbrella organisation of like-minded organisations opposing the project) boycotted the proceedings stating that they will intensify their agitation against the project as they are not convinced by the government’s stand.

There was a war of words both inside and outside the meeting venue between the BJP and Congress members after Siddaramaiah stated that there is no question of dropping the project as civil works amounting to Rs 1,800 crore had already been completed.  He also pointed out that it was the BJP government that had initiated the project in 2012.  The Rs 13,000-crore project proposes diversion of 24.01 tmcft of water at Yettinahole in Hassan district to cater to the drinking water needs of people in Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru Rural and Tumakuru districts.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Forest Minister Ramanath Rai even dared the BJP to move a motion in the legislature seeking that the project be scrapped.

"If the House adopts the motion, I will even fall at the feet of the chief minister to get the project abandoned. The BJP is playing a double game. While it holds a padayatra in Kolar seeking that the project be implemented, the same party organises agitations in Dakshina Kannada against the project," Rai said.

Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Katil of the BJP said his party will not allow the project. "The government has not answered several questions we have raised. Besides, the matter is before the National Green Tribunal. Let a study team comprising elected representatives and experts be constituted to plan the conservation and utilisation of water of west-flowing rivers before taking any step forward," Katil said.

Water Resources Minister M B Patil said the deficient rainfall this year had affected the flow of over 140 tmcft water into Nethravathi River, but it had not caused any ecological damage in the Western Ghats region.

MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said speaking to reporters after the meeting that his party will continue to protest against the proposed project with the support of people as the project is expected to dry up Kumaradhara river and result in huge environmental damage.

In the meeting held, the BJP leaders asked chief minister Siddaramaiah to conduct a survey on the proposed project by a panel of experts to discuss negative and positive outcomes of the project. However, their proposal was rejected by the chief minister resulting in heated arguments.

The state government failed to respond the questions raised by the BJP leaders including the details on environmental damage, weather the project is really possible for the government to complete the project and details on  issues likely to be raised by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The meeting was attended by Karnataka state cabinet ministers UT Khader, B Ramanatha Rai, Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and other leaders

 The meeting presided by chief minister Siddaramaiah to resolve the issues related to Yettinahole project concluded without any outcomes. Both BJP leaders and state government failed to reach a conclusion as they spent their time in exchanging heated arguments in the meeting held at chief minister’s official residence Krishna on Dec 26, Monday.

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