Mangaluru: Can water be diverted under the Yettinahole project from taluks listed as drought hit, and used in other drought-hit districts? That’s the perplexing question raised by activists opposing the river diversion project.
The state government has been claiming that it is diverting only ‘excess’ water from River Netravathi for the project but recently listed Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks in Dakshina Kannada district among the 160 drought hit taluks in the state. Interestingly Bantwal is the place where the government authorities had calculated ‘excess’ water in river Netravathi.
“Considering the scarcity of rainfall, the state government has declared Mangaluru and Bantwal as drought hit,” DK Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumar told Deccan Chronicle.
Anti-Yettinahole project activists are angry with the government for continuing with the project when it has agreed that two taluks in Dakshina Kannada are drought affected. “Can there be any project where water is diverted from one drought hit region to another?” Sahyadri Sanchaya convener Dinesh Holla questions.
“The yardstick for calculating ‘excess’ water in Netravathi for the Yettinahole project was the flow at Bantwal. But now the same Bantwal taluk has been declared drought hit! Does the government still believe that there is excess water in Netravathi now? For the first time in history, two taluks of the coastal districts have been declared drought hit.” Netravati Samrakshana Samyukta Samithi advisor M.G. Hegde said.
“Despite our opposition the state government continued with the Yettinahole project claiming that DK had excess water and only some portion of water would be provided to Kolar and Chikkaballapur. Now since two taluks in our district have been declared drought hit and other taluks are facing water shortage, how can the government still speak of excess water? Shouldn’t we get the water first rather than give it to others?
“If the situation continues and there is shortage of rainfall in the region, what will the government do? We have been warning that the water in Netravathi has decreased over the years. If the government’s project is implemented, neither will people of DK get water nor will those in parched Kolar or Chikkaballapur,” he added.