Special Correspondent

Anti-dam action panel to hold demonstration in Sorab town

  • The project envisages construction of a dam across the Dandavati in Sorab taluk to irrigate three hoblis
  • The project will result in submergence of nearly 50 villages and forest land, says Bangarappa

    SHIMOGA: Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister B.S. Yediyurappa seems to have stirred a hornet's nest by announcing in his Budget speech that the Dandavati Irrigation project in Sorab taluk of Shimoga district will be revived.

    He had announced that the project, pending for the last four decades, would be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 200 crore to help people of the Sorab taluk. He made a budgetary allocation of Rs. 25 crore for its preliminary works.

    Though it is not yet certain whether the project would be implemented owing to differing views on its technical and financial viability, it is however certain to create political division in the taluk with both Shimoga MP and former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa and his son and MLA from Sorab constituency, Kumar Bangarappa, opposing it.

    An action committee has been set up to protest against the proposed project. It will hold a demonstration at Sorab town on Thursday under the leadership of S. Bangarappa.

    The Bangarappas have been opposing the project saying that it would result in submergence of nearly 50 villages apart from causing hardship to people in the taluk.

    Fallout

    What seems to have worried the Bangarappas and their followers is the fallout of the government's decision to implement Dandavati project.

    It is expected to pose a serious threat to their leadership in the taluk, which is dominated by their backward Deevaru community.

    The proposed project envisages construction of a dam across the Dandavati at Jedigere in Sorab taluk to provide irrigation facility to three hoblis in the taluk. The original plan was prepared in 1960s in response to the representation made by the then MLA of Sorab, A.S. Lakhmikantappa.

    The then Chief Minister S. Nijalingappa found the project useful considering its potential to irrigate nearly 8,500 acres of land and agreed to implement it.

    It was also argued that it would help in averting recurring floods in and around Sorab taluk. However, subsequently the project was shelved.

    Volte-face

    However, when senior Bangarappa, as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly in 1985 reportedly extended his support to the project, it came as a surprise to his followers. But the anti-Dandavati project activists kept up their protest against the project.

    The sudden announcement by Mr. Yediyurappa on the revival of the project without consulting the elected representatives of the area has caused ripples in the political circles in the taluk. The manner in which Mr. Yediyurappa sought to revive the project is cited as an attempt at gaining political mileage for the BJP, which is yet to be a force to reckon with in Sorab taluk.

    The leaders opposing the project say that over 50 villages of Sorab and some in the neighbouring Sagar taluk, apart from a considerable extent of forest land, would be submerged if the dam was constructed across the Dandavati at Jedigere.

    Pledging support

    They have expressed their support to the fight being spearheaded by Mr. S. Bangarappa to thwart the implementation of the project.

    They have warned that the agitation against the project would be intensified unless the project was scrapped.

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