If the Kachenahalli Lift Irrigation Project in Dundiganahalli, Channarayapatna taluk, had been completed on time, the people of 40 villages in the taluk would not have faced the drought situation.
The works for the same was launched 21 years ago, and unfortunately the project is still progressing at a snail’s pace, testing the patience of the people here.
The project was started in the year 1993-94, but the sanctioning of funds was delayed. If the funds had been utilised properly, the project would have seen the light of the day, opine villagers here.
The first phase of works that includes bringing water through small canals from Hemavathy River to the jack well in Kachenahalli and then lift water to fill the tanks in the surrounding villages, is almost complete. As per the project if the first phase of works had completed on time, it would have irrigated 1,390 acres of land. But not a single drop of water has been lifted so far.
In the second phase, water has to be brought through pipes for a distance from Kachenahalli to Sannenahalli. But the works are limping at Sannenahalli.
In an effort to exert pressure on the authorities concerned to speed up the works, the villagers formed a Committee. Several protests, roadblocks were held that resulted in release of some funds.
Now, the department of Forests has raised objections for the construction of two kilometres canal that has to pass through 136.36 acres of ‘gomaala’ land. The department has also planted saplings under Social Forestry there. According to the new law the area should not be used for any other purposes.
Arsikere tahsildar has identified alternative land, but the formalities should be completed at the Deputy Commissioner’s level. Funds amounting to Rs 151.94 crore was sanctioned in the year 2011-12. If the existing hurdles are not cleared, the project would be left incomplete for years together, they added.
The people of the region opine that the delay in the project that is said to irrigate thousands of acres of lands, is politically motivated. If the legislators of the constituency make efforts, the project would be completed in a year, they said.
The villagers said that they have not supported any party apart from JD(S) from 1963 to 89. JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda, who had invited central teams to study the coconut crops in Arsikere and Channarayapatna, was not concerned about the inordinate delay in completing the lift irrigation project.
They alleged that the JD(S) leaders had not shown any interest in furthering the project as it was launched by Congress leader Puttaswamy Gowda. Now, the party was propagating that the project is unscientific. “We are tired of politics, we want water”, they lamented.
Meanwhile, villagers under the Kachenahalli Lift Irrigation Horata Samiti staged a protest in front of DC’s office seeking alternative place for ‘gomaala’.
The DC has assured to convene a meeting on December 27 and has invited the committee members to attend the meeting and discuss the problems and alternative measures.