As many as 24,116 trees will be cut down in Muttinakoppa minor forest and Aramballi reserve forest of Koppa division to pave way for a 11.26 km-long canal that will lift water from Tunga river to Bhadra reservoir.
The canal, as part of the Upper Bhadra Lift Irrigation Scheme, will provide water for 787 villages of four districts. Local residents demanded that the KNNL, the project implementing agency, take up an alternative route to build the canal to avoid destruction of the forest, besides disturbing human habitat, while KNNL officials maintained that the alignment was chosen after verification of all possibilities.
The canal passes through Sathkoli, Sathkoli Colony and Doddinatale villages. The canal requires acquisition of 9 acres and 30 guntas of agriculture land, besides 94 hectares of forest land.
Villagers said KNNL could have saved hundreds of trees besides their properties had the canal being constructed from Kanaburu to the Bhadra reservoir through the Forest Department plantations, without touching the villages. Trees being cut include jambe (Xylia xylocarpa), honne (Pterocarpus marsupium), mathi (Terminalia paniculata), teak (Tectona grandis), buttale (Grewia tiliaefolia), and bamboo.
‘Least damaging alignment’
R. Cheluvaraju, Chief Engineer of the Upper Bhadra project, told The Hindu: “We finalised the least expensive and least damaging alignment. The canal will pump water from Tunga to Bhadra. The points of lifting water and the pumphouse were decided scientifically. In fact, the farmers had brought this alternative alignment to our notice in the past.”