A river-diversion project to provide drinking water in five parched districts has become a bone of contention in the upcoming Lok Sabha election in South Karnataka.

While people in the beneficiary districts want the project to be implemented at the earliest, those in coastal Karnataka (Dakshina Kannada and Udupi) have set aside political differences to oppose it.

The project intends to divert 24 tmc ft of water from the Yettinahole rivulet, a tributary of the Netravathi, by the construction of several mini-dams and canals. It promises to provide drinking water in five districts around Bangalore, in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Kolar, Chickaballapur, Bangalore Rural and Tumkur.

M. Veerappa Moily, Chickaballapur MP and Union Minister, who got elected in 2009 on the promise of providing water through river diversion, could not fulfil his promise and was able only to get the foundation stone laid just before the announcement of the Lok Sabha election. As Union Minister for Environment and Forest, Mr. Moily hastened the process of environment clearance for the project.

But Congress candidate for Dakshina Kannada B. Janardhan Poojary has vowed not to allow the project at any cost.