Centre to study Netravati diversion again

The Centre is likely to study afresh the demand for diverting the west-flowing Netravati river eastwards to address water problems in the parched regions of Karnataka.

In a parliamentary consultative committee meeting of the Water Resources Ministry on Friday, Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat is learnt to have promised to study the project afresh at the earliest.

Though the diversion requires environmental clearances, the ministry will send a team to study the project, Rawat reportedly said at the meeting.

Reacting to a call for the early implementation of the project by Tumkur MP G S Basavaraj, who is also a member of the consultative committee, Rawat said despite opposition from environmentalists, the ministry “will not hesitate to study the project in public interest.”

The minister also promised to arrange a meeting between Water Resources Ministry officials and retired chief engineer G S Paramashivaiah, who prepared a report on the diversion of the Netravati.

Basavaraj told Deccan Herald that the minister also promised that elected representatives would be allowed to make a presentation to the study team. He said early implementation of the project could address water problems in Hassan, Tumkur, Chickballapur, Chitradurga, Kolar and Bangalore urban and rural districts.
Earlier, the National Water Development Agency, a body under the Ministry of Water Resources, had prepared a pre-feasibility report on the diversion of the Netravati river to the east and link it to the Hemavati river, which is in the Cauvery basin.

The report said diversion of surplus water from the Netravati basin to the Cauvery basin would help irrigate 33,813 hectares under the Hemavati irrigation project in the drought-prone Tumkur, Hassan and Mandya districts of Karnataka. However, no provision had been made for drinking water.

The Karnataka government, however, has not sent any proposal regarding the diversion of the Netravati river to the Centre, sources in the Water Resources Ministry said.
Tamil Nadu has also demanded early implementation of the project and sought share of the tapped water.

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