23 villages will submerge if water is impounded up to 524 metres

As much as 1.20 lakh acres of land will be acquired for increasing the height of the Alamatti dam from 519 metres to 524 metres under the Upper Krishna Project (UKP) III as per the decision of the Krishna River Water Dispute Tribunal.

The State government is expected to face a major challenge in the form of relief and rehabilitation of the 23 villages that will submerge if water is impounded up to 524 metres at the Alamatti Balancing Reservoir in Bagalkot district.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Minister for Water Resources M.B. Patil said that the land acquisition process would commence in January. As per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013, recently passed by the Union government, the State government would pay compensation on the basis of consent to farmers who give away land to the project.

Land would be acquired not by force and a high-level committee, headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, would take a “fair decision” and provide compensation to farmers losing their land, he said.

“Relief and rehabilitation is a major challenge and it will take time to acquire farmland, and also land for relocating displaced families,” Mr. Patil said. About 10,000 acres of land would be required for resettlement and rehabilitation. More than 70,000 acres of fertile land in the two districts would be lost in the backwaters of the reservoir. Mr. Patil said that the compensation would be around Rs. 8 lakh-Rs. 10 lakh per acre in Bagalkot district. Earlier estimates put the cost of UKP III at Rs. 17,100 crore. As per the government’s guidance value, the cost per acre of land would be Rs. 2.24 lakh, while it would be around Rs. 8 lakh-Rs. 10 lakh as per the new Bill passed by Parliament, Mr. Patil said.

He said that 500 Assistant Engineers and Junior Engineers would be appointed soon and a proposal has been submitted to the Finance Department for clearance. About 1,000 engineers would be recruited on contract basis in the department’s three corporations — Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited and Krishna Bhagya Jal Nigam.

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