Special Correspondent

Centre refuses to sanction forest land for laying canals to Tunga irrigation project

Project designed to irrigate lands of Shimoga taluk and Honnali taluk The technical and financial approval was accorded to it in 1991

SHIMOGA: The much-awaited Tunga Lift Irrigation Project, designed to irrigate parched lands of Shimoga taluk and Honnali taluk in Davangere district, is bogged down again following the reported refusal by the Centre to sanction 170 acres of forest land for laying canals of the project.

The project, which has been pending since long, even after the technical and financial approval was accorded to it in 1991 envisages the diversion of the Tunga waters to the Goudanakere Dam through the Hayhole dam and the Berehalla tank. It is proposed to lift 108 cusecs of water from the Tunga Dam at Gajanur, about 10 km from here, and release it into the Hayhole Dam from where the water is planned to be lifted with the help of four pumps of 400 hp each and fill up the Barehalla dam about 3.5 km from there. Thereafter, the water impounded in the Barehalla is planned to be lifted and released into the Goudanakere through the channel.

The proposed project involves the laying of a 30-km channel passing through the thick forest of the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary. Persistent attempts by successive governments in the past 15 years to get the Central clearance for the forest land are of no avail even after the assurance by the State Government to release the revenue land to raise the compensatory forest.

Besides, the Irrigation Department had obtained the permission from the Karnataka Power Transmission Company Limited (KPTCL) in 2004 to obtain about 4.8 mw power required for the implementation of the project. However, Minister for Water Resources K.S. Eshwarappa, who represents Shimoga, has taken exception to the manner in which the repeated pleas made by the successive State Governments have been turned down by the Centre.

He said that he has proposed to redraw the plan if the Centre does not respond positively to the request by the State Government to reconsider the plan of the project already prepared.

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