Irked over delay, farmers launch canal works for irrigation

Irked over the delay in commencing the Madihalli Lift Irrigation Project, hundreds of farmers gathered at Mallikarjunapura, with excavating machines, pickaxe and other implements and began the canal works, near Halebeed, on Sunday.

The lift irrigation project planned to supply water to Halebeed and Madihalli hoblis from Yagachi reservoir is pending since two years, awaiting the approval of the Forest department.

A 100-metre stretch of the canal is supposed to pass through forests, which is opposed by the Forest department.

So, the farmers staged a series of protests in front of the DC’s office, drawing the attention of the officials.

Deputy Commissioner V Anbu Kumar had convened a meeting of officials of various departments, elected representatives and farmers.

He had assured to complete the works by March 2014 and release water into lakes.

Alternative lands were provided to the Forest department in Arsikere, so that the works could be completed within the scheduled time.

However, the Forest department failed to hand over the specified land, which irked the farmers. They called for a bandh in both hoblis and began the works with the help of excavating machines and other equipment.

Water woes

The officials of the Revenue department, who were pointing their fingers towards the Forest department, woke up from a slumber, following the protest.

They acquired some lands from the farmers on Saturday and began works overnight, it is said.

When the farmers arrived on the spot, on Sunday morning, they found that the works were under progress and took the officials to task. If the works had begun six months ago, the water woes of both the hoblis would have been solved, they claimed.

The farmers also began the works from the other side, belonging to the Forest department, using excavators.

While the workers employed by the Revenue department were seen working in a slow pace, more than 2,000 farmers swung into action with full enthusiasm.

Some Forest department officials, who tried to take photographers, were taken to task by the farmers.

Several organisations, Shivapura Basavananda Swami, Somashekar Shivacharya Swami of Pushpagiri, Jayachandrashekara Swami of Kolagunda Kedi and others extended support to the farmers.

Legislator Y N Rudregowda too extended his support later.

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