The Coastal Development Authority chairman, B. Nagaraj Shetty, has said that it will come out with a proposal on interlinking 16 rivers in the three coastal districts of Karnataka.

He opposed the execution of the Netravati diversion project which is aimed at providing water for drinking and irrigation to drought-prone districts such as Kolar, Tumkur, Chickaballapur and Bangalore Rural districts.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, Mr. Shetty said the authority would study the reports submitted by A.G. Kodgi, K.C. Reddy and G.S. Paramashivaiah on interlinking rivers and diversion of the Netravati river project and come out with a possible and feasible report on interlinking the 13 rivers of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, and three rivers of Uttara Kannada district.

It would also hold consultations with irrigation experts and prepare a report in a year, he said.

On the cost involved, the former Minister said the Kodgis report, which was submitted to the Government about four years ago, put it at Rs. 6,000 crore. Now, it could be about Rs. 10,000 crore, Mr. Shetty said.

Interlinking rivers would reduce the flow of water into the sea as well as water wastage. The project would also help in setting up of hydro-power plants and promoting fishing in the coastal region, he said.

Mr. Shetty termed the Netravati river diversion project as unscientific and pointed out that the people of the coastal districts had been opposing it as it would reduce water supply to the region.

An expert committee headed by Mr. Paramashivaiah in 2001 submitted a report on A scheme for gravity diversion of Netravathi river to the drought-affected regions of Karnataka. The Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency has prepared satellite survey maps of the command area. The Netravati diversion project intends to divert water from the rain-fed west-flowing Netravati towards the east. According to the plan, dams would be built across nine tributaries of the river.

Nagaraj Shetty terms Netravati river diversion project as unscientific. This project aims at meeting water requirements of drought-prone areas.