Save the Netravati: Eco-groups launch awareness drive by visiting schools, colleges and hostels

Environment enthusiasts in the city are grouping together to “save the Netravati” which they fear could “die” if the State government’s ambitious plan to divert its water for parched regions is implemented.

Led by Vanya Charana Balaga (Forum of Forest Trekkers), they have already begun visiting schools, colleges and hostels to create awareness about the project being implemented under the name of Yettinahole Drinking Water Scheme.

The Balaga Convenor Dinesh Holla said groups such as Arehole Pratishthana, Mangalore City Rotaract Club have joined hands with his organisation in its efforts to spread awareness about the “sinister plan” of the State government. Madhav Ullal, who has planted many saplings in the city, is also supporting it.

Trigger Khader

Mr. Holla said the recent statement of Health Minister U.T. Khader suggesting that the scheme had the backing of 120 MLAs and a handful of MLAs from the region could do nothing to stop it prompted to take up the cudgels on behalf of the people of Dakshina Kannada. It was for the people now to raise their voice if at all the river has to be saved, Mr. Holla, a known name among trekkers, said.

He said people were ignorant about the scheme and believe that nothing would happen to the river — a lifeline for the district. Many thought Yettinahole scheme has little or nothing to do with the Netravati. Others thought that a dam – like the one in Thumbe which is the source of drinking water for Mangalore – will be built and that they need not bother about it.

But the volunteers of Balaga through presentations and talks in Puttur Madanthyar and a few institutions in Mangalore have tried to make people understand the gravity of the situation. With the help of other organisations the Balaga has plans to hold talks and discussions for many more groups.

He gave the example of villagers of Shishila stalling a mini hydel project three years ago. The villagers united once they were informed about the ill-effects of the project.

What is in the offing

Dinesh Holla, a line-draw artist and kite enthusiast of international exposure, said his Vanya Charana Balaga will make an artistic cut-out and a banner highlighting how Dakshina Kannada has benefited from Netravati. It will also show how all the benefits could be denied if the plans to divert Netravati waters materialise.

A public programme has been planned in front of DC Office and another at City Centre Mall. People will also get about 15,000 pamphlets and post cards, on which they can write their opinions and send to Chief Minister or other authorities.

More In: Mangaluru