Artists in the city are upset that political parties in Dakshina Kannada have sidestepped the issue of Nethravati diversion (Yettinahole project) in this election campaign. They also feel letdown by the political parties’ indifference to their more than three decades old demand for a government art gallery.

Artists Dinesh Holla, Sapna Noronha, Rajendra Kedige and Ananthapadmanabha said that meddling with the Western Ghats through projects such as building dams and Yettinahole project would have serious implications on environment. The parties should have discussed this issue seriously during the campaign. They should have given a commitment of not going ahead with such projects.

Mr. Holla said that the BJP and the Congress candidates had in their personal capacity opposed the river diversion project, but not their parties. The election manifestoes of the two major parties for Dakshina Kannada constituency are silent on their stand on the issue, he said.

Mr. Holla, who is also an avid trekker, said that some artists, including him, under the banner of Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya have so far distributed 50,000 pamphlets in the district appealing the voters to exercise NOTA (none of the above) option during the elections on April 17.

Ms. Noronha said the conservation of the Ghats could not be sidelined in the race of economic development.

Mr. Kedige said the political parties in the district should have been open for a face-to-face discussion on Yettinahole project. Ganesh Somayaji, another senior artist, said the artists here had submitted memoranda to the Deputy Commissioners to set up a art gallery for the 10th time. They require an art gallery measuring from at least 2,000 ft. to 4,000 sq. ft. area.