Reconsider nod for Yettinahole project: Greens

Reconsider nod for Yettinahole project: Greens

The eco groups launch signature campaign against implementation of the scheme

Reconsider nod for Yettinahole project: Greens

Terming the Yettinahole drinking water project as “ill conceived and skewed,” environment groups have launched a signature campaign, demanding that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) take a re-look at the same.

The campaign launched by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), Delhi and Pune, has demanded that the MoEF withdraw the No Objection Certificate given to the project, as the stand taken by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF “does not stand the test of legal scrutiny”.

In a letter addressed to Jayanthi Natarajan, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests on September 10, the organisation, along with many other signatories, has appealed for fresh appraisal of the Yettinahole Diversion Project of the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited.

Project report

It has also said that the Ministry should seek a detailed project report that includes the plans for phases two and three from Karnataka and appraise the project for environmental clearance in its entirety.

“Though the project claims to be a scheme for drinking water in Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts, the actual dedicated drinking water allocation for these districts is only 2.81 tmc ft, out of the 24.01 tmc ft diverted. The rest will be used for irrigation, river rejuvenation, urban areas and industrial areas,” the representation says.

At its 63rd meeting for river valley and hydropower projects, the EAC concluded that it was a drinking water scheme and did not attract the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assesment Notification, 2006, and its subsequent amendment of 2009.

Prineeta Dandekar of SANDRP contends that it is not the case. “This recommendation of the EAC and the decision of the MoEF are incorrect. The scheme is a Category ‘A’ project and needs to be appraised by the EAC, not only because it falls under the purview of the EIA Notification 2006, but also due to its serious ecological and social impact,” she said, adding that there were both irrigation and hydropower generation components.

Irrigation component

The project aims to supply water to 337 minor irrigation tanks and zilla panchayat tanks in Kolar and Chikkaballapur. The command areas of these 337 minor irrigation tanks comes up to 29,182 hectares. This is higher than 10,000 hectares; hence this is a Category ‘A’ project, which comes under the purview of EIA Notification 2006 and will have to be considered for Environmental Clearance by the EAC, SANDRP argues.

Hydropower generation

The project report claims that it can generate 125-150 MW of power through gravity canals. Location details are also made available in the report. As this is higher than 25 MW, the project comes under the purview of EIA Notification 2006, and will have to be considered for Environmental Clearance by the EAC.

“The project should be considered by the EAC, urgently taking back any letter sent to the State government to the effect that the project does not require an EC as per EIA notification 2006.”

“While provision of drinking water to the said districts is a legitimate necessity that we do not object to, we are questioning the justification of this ill-conceived project,” said Dandekar.

* The project plans to divert 24.01 tmc ft of water from four streams in Western Ghats

* Forest and environment clearance not sought for clearing 107.27 hectares of forest land for raising mains

* Gravity canal from Haravanahalli (Sakleshpur) to Tumkur will require a minimum of 400 hectares of land

* Reservoir at Devarayanadurga will require 1,200 hectares of land, including 50 per cent of forest land. It will submerge at least two villages.