The contractors who have bagged the first phase of Yettinahaole integrated drinking water project, which is meant to carry water from the Western Ghats to the dry areas of Kolar and Chikkaballpura, have been warned of legal action by the Forest Department for taking up ground clearing work in reserve forest areas near Kadudaravalli in Sakleshpur taluk.
Ramesh Babu, Assistant Conservator of Forests, told The Hindu on Monday that the officials had noticed the violation of norms and had warned the representatives of the contractors concerned. “As per the project proposal, 18.3 ha of reserve forest near Yettinahalla and Kadudaravalli villages should be diverted. That has not yet been done. The State government has just begun the process. It involves survey of the land and grant of alternative land. The process is still in the preliminary stages. The contractor has launched the ground clearance work outside the forest areas. However recently, he crossed the forest limits by about 30 ft. for which we have warned,” the official said. The department has said, it will register a case under the Forest Conservation Act, if the workers repeat the mistake. “They can do the work in the forest area after it is diverted for the project, as per the set procedure. Till then, nobody can disturb the forest cover. In such cases, we will book cases against the contractor and the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd., which is the user agency, besides the engineers concerned,” he said.
In many places, the contractors have secured land on lease from farmers to keep the materials procured for executing the project. It is said that they have flouted norms by taking farm land on lease. Environmentalists have alleged that the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. is going ahead with the project work despite repeated demands for a full-fledged public-hearing on the project. During a meeting chaired by Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil in December last, the farmers and environmentalists objected to the State government implementing the project despite opposition from local people.
‘Govt. yet to divert 18.3 ha of land near Yettinahalla, Kadudaravalli to begin the work’
Contractor said to have crossed forest limits recently, violating norms