Government reiterates its stand on implementing Yettinahole project

The State Budget for 2012-13, presented by Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, has failed to bring cheer among people of Hassan district.

The government has reiterated its stand on implementing the Yettinahole water project, which people of Sakleshpur and environmentalists alike have been opposing, citing the possible damage to the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats.

The project, proposed to come up at Yettinahole in Sakleshpur taluk, is aimed at providing water to Kolar, Chickballapur, Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts. A sum of Rs. 400 crore has been earmarked for the project in the budget.

Opposition

People of Sakleshpur have been opposing the project. They had reiterated their opposition to the project at a meeting of representatives from dryland areas and Malnad region held in Hassan on March 17. People were already facing the impact of the decline in forest cover. Wild elephants often venture into villages, destroying crops and posing a threat to people's life, they had said.

Shortage

Alur-Sakleshpur MLA H.K Kumaraswamy told The Hindu that he was opposed to the project and had conveyed his views to the Chief Minister. “Villages in Sakleshpur taluk have been facing shortage of drinking water. When we don't have sufficient water, how can we allow diversion of the river for the benefit of other districts,” he questioned.

Mr. Kumaraswamy alleged that the government had not fulfilled the long-pending demand for relief for potato growers who had suffered losses for four consecutive years due to blight. “We had demanded waiver of farm loans taken by potato growers in the district. But the Chief Minister has not consider it at all,” he said.

Rehabilitation

The Chief Minister has proposed to relocate families residing in forest areas to reduce the incidence of man-animal conflict. This year, the government wants to take up the project in Sakleshpur at a cost of Rs. 10 crore.

A section of farmers in Sakleshpur have come forward to part with their land so that the forest area could be extended. Mr. Kumaraswamy said that so far farmers had given consent letters to part with 2,300 acres of land to increase the forest cover. “But the funds earmarked for the project is meagre (Rs. 10 crore). Farmers are demanding at least Rs. 10 lakh an acre. For 2,300 acres, the government has to earmark at least Rs. 230 crore,” he said.

There are reports that small farmers with one or two acres of landholdings are not ready to part with it.

Roadworks

A sum of Rs. 75 crore has been allocated for the development of roads in Kodagu district. Mr. Kumaraswamy said he had also demanded Rs. 25 crore for the development of roads in Sakleshpur taluk. But the government did not respond to it, he said. “The condition of roads in Sakleshpur is no better than that of those in Kodagu,” the MLA said.

Veterinary college

The Chief Minister has announced Rs. 60 crore for the construction of buildings for veterinary colleges in Hassan and Shimoga. Of this, Rs. 30 crore is expected to be released for the college in Hassan. The college is yet to obtain recognition from the Veterinary Council of India (VCI).

With the allocation of funds, it is expected that the authorities will complete infrastructure development works so as to help the college get the VCI recognition.


  • People of Sakleshpur and environmentalists alike have been opposing it

  • Demand for relief for potato growers not fulfilled


  • More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL