'Stealing freedom through Nethravathi diversion'

Various assns stage stir against govt move of river diversion

 Even as elected representatives and general public enthusiastically participated in the 68th Independence Day celebration organised by the district administration at Nehru Maidan on Friday, a few feet away a small crowd had gathered in a bid to save river Nethravathi.

People from various organisations had assembled at Mahatma Gandhi Park in front of Town Hall, to extend their support to the protest staged by Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya opposing Nethravathi River Diversion project.

The organisation chose to observe Independence Day as the day of snatching freedom from the people of Dakshina Kannada and the protest was staged under the slogan ‘Nethravathi Tiruvu - Swathanthrayada Kalavu’ (Stealing our freedom through Nethravathi diversion).

Addressing the protesters, Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya Convener Dinesh Holla flayed the elected representatives of the district of cheating the people. “MP Nalin Kumar Kateel who had promised of stopping the project before the election, is now silent on the issue and so is the district-in-charge minister,” he said.

Holla said that the third and final representation will be submitted to the elected representatives and the government, bearing the signs of over 25 like-minded organisations. The protesters will set a deadline of October 2 for the government to announce that the project is dropped.

“We will intensify our fight and urge the resignation of elected representatives from our district if at all they fail to respond before the deadline. We will get into streets and block the roads,” he warned.

Educationist M G Hegde questioned the government for not convening a public meeting to discuss about the project, as promised in the past.

Rai bats for an alternative

Speaking to reporters about the project on the sidelines of Independence Day programme, District-in-Charge Minister B Ramanath Rai said he will ensure that Nethravathi River Diversion project is not implemented.

“When eight districts are demanding for the project, Dakshina Kannada is the only district to oppose it. We will speak to the government to find an alternative project like Pashchima Vahini, for supplying water to the parched areas,” he said.

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