On the sixth day of indefinite agitation in front of the office of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL) in Dharwad on Monday, the members of Raita Sena Karnataka (RSK) accused the previous regime headed by BJP of misleading farmers and floating bogus tenders for Kalasa Banduri Nala project.
Speaking to mediapersons at the protest site on the sixth day of agitation on Monday, State president of Raita Sena Veeresh Sobaradmath alleged that at the end of their rule, the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government had cheated farmers by claiming approval for Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project. The government had also floated a ‘bogus’ tender worth ₹947 crore for the project just to cheat the farmers during the general Assembly elections, he alleged.
However despite all tall claims by BJP, the project was yet to take off as the environmental clearance for it had not been given yet and objections had been raised over giving clearance over the issue of Tiger corridor passing through the project area. Mr. Sobaradmath even claimed that a Single Judge Bench of Bombay High Court had issued a stay on the project.
Taking objection to the Goa government’s objection to the project citing the tiger corridor, Mr. Sobaradmath sought to know how come the same government had allowed establishment of over 100 resorts in the same area. Meanwhile Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had claims about the project site being under the jurisdiction of Maharashtra as per the recommendations of Mahajan Committee report. Despite being aware of all these developments, the previous BJP government had floated a ‘bogus’ tender to hoodwink the farmers, he said.
The Raita Sena had urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to initiate criminal proceedings against KNNL officials including the additional secretary, chief engineer and managing director and all those involved in floating the ‘bogus’ tender. “If no action is taken within a week, Raita Sena will file a PIL in High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru,” he said.
Mr. Sobaradmath alleged that KNNL was mired in corrupt practices and they would urge the CM to take action against the corrupt. When Mr. Siddaramiah was the Leader of the Opposition, Raita Sena had submitted a memorandum to him elaborating on the corrupt practices. The Raita Sena would now urge him to hold a detailed inquiry into the whole issue, he said.
On Union Minister Pralhad Joshi’s assurance bout getting clearance for the project, he said the Raita Sena would urge CM Siddaramaiah to hold a meeting of all the concerned departments and take necessary steps to get the clearance for Kalasa Banduri Project.