Officials say detailed project report will be ready by July 31

With the diversion of the Netravati set to become a reality, the State government promises that a detailed project report (DPR) being prepared now will assess impact on the Western Ghats from the two-phase diversion project at Yettinahole. The DPR, which will suggest measures to mitigate damage to environment, is expected to be ready by July 31.

The State government, through Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd., has floated Rs. 3,269.50 crore five-package tender for phase I for lifting water from Yettinahale, a tributary of the Netravati in the Western Ghats to Haravanahalli near Sakleshpur.

In the second phase, the government proposes to take the water through the 233-km-long open canals to a reservoir in Devarayanadurga near Tumkur for further distribution. The plan is to tap 24 tmc ft (thousand million cubic ft) of water for the dry areas of Bangalore Rural, Kolar, Chikballapur, and Tumkur districts. The phase II is expected to cost Rs. 5,054 crore.

While tenders are being evaluated by a technical committee of the KNNL, a Bangalore-based firm – EI Technologies – has been asked to prepare a detailed project report at a cost of Rs. 7.01 crore.

Sources in the KNNL said the firm was given the work in July last year and it was asked to submit its report in six months. As it sought more time, the KNNL has extended the deadline till July 31.

The sources claimed that people of Dakshina Kannada need not have any misgivings about the project as less than 2 per cent of the 2,000 TMC ft (thousand million cubic ft) of water that flows into the west-flowing rivers would be diverted. With no other source of water available for dry districts, the government would tap the water draining into the sea, they maintained.

The first phase envisages eight mini dams across the streams at Yattinahole to facilitate accumulation of water for lifting it to Haravanahalli. There will be five power sub-stations (three of 220 kV capacity and two of 110 kV) to facilitate lifting water.

Detailed report, a humbug : hydraulics expert

The detailed project report (DPR) is being prepared to fool the people, said S.G. Mayya, Professor and Chairman, Department of Applied Mechanics and Hydraulics, National Institute of Technology-K.

Prof. Mayya, who specializes in Water Resources Engineering and Management, said the Bangalore-based firm had conducted the feasibility report for this project and it was unscientific and contained “wrong hydraulic and rainfall data”. The feasibility report, which ignored guidelines on inter-basin transfer of water should have been rejected by the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd., instead of asking this firm to conduct a DPR. He said the project required 350 MW of power and involved laying pipeline for a length of 100 km.

He said the feasibility report referred to the project as “diversion of flood water from Sakleshpur to Tumkur” to hide the fact that water was sourced from the Yettinahole, a tributary of the Netravati. He challenged KNNL for an open debate.

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