Hassan: The Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL),which has been entrusted with executing the controversial Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project, has received permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests to bring down as many as 5,000 trees enroute in various forests of Sakleshpur in Hassan.
Permission to axe the trees was given in September for all packages of the Yettinahole Project and KNNL has already paid up for Compensatory Afforestation (CA), according to sources. “We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KNNL on the project,” said a forest official.
Defending the permission given to chop massive trees in a biological hotspot like Sakleshpur, he said there was little choice in the matter as the Yettinahole project aims to provide drinking water to drought- prone areas of Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramnagara and other districts in the east.
While KNNL has already axed hundreds of trees on private land in Sakleshpur , it will wait until the rain subsides to start chopping trees in forests, according to one of its engineers.
Under the project, weirs will be built across the Yettinahole and two of its tributaries, Kirihole and Hongadahalla in Sakleshpur taluk. The streams flow to River Gundia, which in turn joins the River Netravathy.
Meanwhile, Mr K N Somashekar, who has challenged the Yettinahole project before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), charged that the MoEF had violated its own guidelines when permitting the chopping of trees for it.
“I have appealed against this to the NGT principal bench and I hope the permission granted to axe the trees will be cancelled,” he said....