‘Big-ticket projects recipe for ecological devastation’

Both the Yettinahole project and the 4,000 MW Niddodi project should be scraped to save the agriculture, the environment and the culture of the Karavali region, said a resolution passed by Nagarika Seva Trust and other environmental organisations here on Tuesday.

As an alternative to the diversion of Nethravati, the organisations suggest that parched districts should evolve rainwater harvesting and other schemes to replenish water sources.

N.A. Madhyastha, environmentalist, said these projects will irrevocably destroy the fragile bio-diversity in the Ghats. “The indicators of health of the ecosystem are butterflies, frogs and bees. We’re already seeing a decline in population among these. I believe that the frog population may be almost wiped out in a decade,” he said.

“There is a fine balance of saline and fresh water at the Nethravati river mouth. If the inflow of fresh water is reduced, the salinity will increase. Moreover, the fresh water fish population will face danger,” he said.

While pointing out to the 9,000 MW shortfall in electricity supply in the State, Y.B. Ramakrishna, former president of the Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board, said it was a fallacy to look at mega power projects – such as the one proposed at Niddodi – as the solution.

Instead, he suggested renewable sources, such as solar, water, bio-gas, electricity through waste, usage of naturally available ethanol to generate power, among others.

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