Upping the ante against the proposed Yettinahole diversion project, several organisations from the district and the neighbouring district Hassan, where the project is being implemented, protested in the city on Wednesday demanding the project’s withdrawal.
From youths to political organisations, the protesters rallied from Bunts Hostel to Deputy Commissioner’s office, where the messages of ‘Save our rivers’ and ‘Save our tigers’ rang loud.
The Rs. 8,323 crore project to supply 24.01 tmc water to Kolar, Chickballapur and Bangalore rural districts will destroy the source of Nethravati and affect the fragile eco-system of the Western Ghats, said H.A. Kishore Kumar, president of the Malenadu Janapara Horatta Samiti.
“We’re not against delivering drinking water to the parched districts. But through this project, the districts won’t get the required water, Dakshina Kannada will lose its water source and Western Ghats will be severely affected. This is just a project for politicians and the corrupt,” he said.
The environmental activist added that the government had violated its own rules by not having a public meeting with the stakeholders before commencing the project.
“We have contacted Laxman and Rajinder Singh (water conservationists), asking them to prepare a report on rejuvenation of lakes in Kolar and Chickballapur. This is a more environmental-friendly option,” said Mr. Kumar.
The stretch of Ghats between Charmadi and Subramanya was unprotected, allowing the government to exploit the resources there through mini-hydel, national highways, pipelines, rail lines and other projects. The organisations demanded that the Nethravati watershed in the Ghats be declared as a protected site.