‘Nobody has the right to change river’s natural flow’

Environmentalist says plan to interlink rivers in india is quesionable

Updated - March 29, 2019 01:27 am IST

Published - March 29, 2019 01:26 am IST - UDUPI

Dinesh Holla, environmentalist and artist, delivering a lecture in Udupi on Thursday.

Dinesh Holla, environmentalist and artist, delivering a lecture in Udupi on Thursday.

Dinesh Holla, environmentalist and artist, said on Thursday that nobody had the right to change the natural flow of a river.

He was delivering the B.N. Shankaranarayana Memorial Lecture on ‘River diversions and river-linking’ at the Dr. T.M.A. Pai College of Education, here.

Mr. Holla said that there were lot of calculations involved in mega projects such as the Yettinahole project and Varahi irrigation project. The first phase of the Varahi irrigation project took 36 years to be completed. The original cost estimated at ₹19 crore had shot up to over ₹700 crore. The work on the project had still not been completed.

The Yettinahole project was still under construction and its feasibility was still being questioned. This had come under sharp focus last year, when even Dakshina Kannada was declared as a drought-hit district for the first time in the State.

The rainfall in the catchment area of the rivers was declining due to environmental degradation. But the number of people consuming water in urban areas was increasing. This was leading to the drinking water scarcity problem. The plan to interlink prominent rivers in the country was questionable.

The Western Ghats with its unique flora and fauna was one of the hotspots of biodiversity. The forests in the Western Ghats were under threat from various mafias. The animals there too were not safe from poachers. “We have to protect the rivers and forests of the Western Ghats,” he said.

The destruction of forests had also led to an increase in man-animal conflict. “Each person should celebrate his birthday by planting a sapling in his house or neighbourhood and take care of it,” Mr. Holla said.

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