Bengaluru: In a setback for eco lovers opposing it , the government has received the green signal on the controversial Yettinahole drinking water project with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) overriding objections to it and permitting its first phase with a rider.
The ambitious Rs 13,000 crore project aims to divert the Yettinahole, a vital tributary of the Netravathi river originating in the Western ghats to provide drinking water to the parched villages of three districts.
Revealing the go ahead received for the project , Managing Director of the Visvesvaraya Jala Nigama Limited (VJNL), K Jaiprakash, told reporters here on Friday that a petition by one Mr K N Somashekar calling for a stop to the first phase of the drinking water scheme on the grounds that the Ministry of Forests, Environment and Ecology had not given its clearance, was dismissed by the NGT on Thursday.
“The tribunal has allowed the state government to go ahead with the project with some pre-conditions. We explained that the project was aimed at providing water to Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Ramanagara and Bengaluru Rural, which were facing an acute drinking water scarcity as their tube wells were contaminated and the tribunal gave its okay on health grounds, ” he explained.
Assuring that work on the project would not damage the forests or the ecology, the officer insisted it would not impact the Netravathi River. “We are only making use of the unutilised water, which would have joined the ocean in any case to provide potable water to lakhs of people in these districts,” he maintained, recalling that studies by the Central Water Commission, the National Highway Authority of India, the Karnataka Disaster Management Cell and other organizations too had ruled in favour of the Yettinahole project.
The verdict is bound to disappoint activists, who fear diverting water of a major tributary of the Netravathi could badly impact the ecology of Western Ghats . Some scientists too have contested the project’s feasibility , faulting its hydrological data and assessment of the quantum of water available for diversion....