The issue of Kalasa-Banduri Nala project has led to several protests and has been an election campaign issue for political parties. However, meetings convened on the issue do not seem interest elected representatives in the region.
A meeting on the issue is slated for Wednesday in Dharwad. In the last decade, the attendance of elected representatives in such meetings has been poor.
The Kalasa Banduri Nala project is expected to benefit towns and villages in Dharwad, Gadag, Belgaum and Bagalkot. Although all parties claim to be committed to implementing the project, which is now facing hurdles due to objection from the Goa government, their commitment to the cause is not seen when needed.
When as Water Resources Minister in the S.M. Krishna government, H.K. Patil had convened a meeting on the issue, the meeting witnessed participation from several activists pressing for the project, but not many elected representatives were present.
Subsequently, when Water Resources Minister in the JD(S)-BJP government K.S. Eshwarappa took some decisive steps on the project and convened a meeting on the issue, the response from elected representatives of the four districts was discouraging.
A meeting convened during BJP governance by Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai fared better, as the then Minister H.K. Patil and a few BJP MLAs participated. The rest failed to respond to the invitation.
Meetings called by activists agitating for the early implementation of the project also received a poor response from elected representatives.
A recent example was the meeting convened by Kalasa Banduri Nala Horata Samanvaya Samiti in Hubli. Barring the Navalgund MLA N.H. Konaraddi, none of the MLAs, MLCs and MPs from the four districts participated.
Now that the project is before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil has convened two meetings in Dharwad, one with elected representatives, and the other with activists and farmers’ leaders.
With the intension of seeking suggestions from elected representatives on how to present the State’s argument before the tribunal, 30 MLAs, MLCs and MPs have been invited.
The question is whether they will have the time to attend the crucial meeting.