Netravathi diversion project set to gain momentum

Netravathi diversion project set to gain momentum

Home ministers assurance kindles hopes

Map prepared by G S Paramashivaiah

For years, the citizens of Tumkur district have been fighting for this basic amenity.
The central region of the State which comprises Tumkur, Kolar, Chitradurga and Davangere districts, are totally dependent on rains. These districts are bogged by problems like soaring temperatures, depletion of groundwater-levels, errant rainfall, which have aggregated the water problem.

Under such trying circumstances for the people of this region, a ray of hope seems to have glittered, with the topic being raised in the Legislative Council for discussion on Wednesday.

The statement by Home Minister V S Acharya, who incidently belongs to Udupi district, stating that there was no problem in diverting the excess waters of Nethravathi River towards the east, has brought cheers to the people of Tumkur, Kolar, Chitradurga and Davangere districts.

The crusader

The crusader behind this entire struggle is none other than the present Member of Parliament G S Basavaraju, popularly known as GSB. Another prominent personality, who has been working along with him, hand-in-hand in the struggle is irrigation expert G S Paramashivaiah.

The struggle for water, which was set in motion by Basavaraju, has now become his party’s struggle also. Though, at present, Basavaraju is in the BJP, his struggle for water remains intact. When Basavaraju launched his struggle, he was in the Congress party then. Even the political parties have opted for a unilateral stand for the struggle to implement the diversion project of Nethravathi waters.


Basavaraju has very often clarified his stand on the struggle. He has stated that the people of this region were only seeking the excess waters of Nethravathi River, which flows into the sea. Only this water should be diverted to the central parts of the State, this was the humble request of the people of this region. There was no selfish motive behind this.

In a way, his demand has been voiced in an appropriate platform like the Legislative Council and it has been seconded by none another an important person from the Dakshina Kannada district, V S Acharya. His assurance that there will not be any problem with the implementation of the diversion project, has ushered in hope.

 The people of Tumkur district are only too happy with these assurances and also the people of central Karnataka are rejoicing the first step towards success.

The concern expressed by Basavaraju is equally voiced by the leader of the Opposition V S Ugrappa. This is one of the best examples of leaders from different political parties struggling for the welfare of the people.

Vehement opposition

Going by the history of events, there was a time when there was extensive opposition for the implementation of the project. The protesters had threatened that not a single drop of Nethravathi River will be diverted elsewhere.

When a delegation lead by irrigation expert Paramashivaiah, launched an inspection on the possibilities of diverting the Nethravathi River, the people of those respective regions had vehemently opposed the project. They had not extended their co-operation nor support to the delegation. However, Basavaraju was not deterred by such setbacks. 
This was when Basavaraju was still with the Congress party and S M Krishna was the then chief minister of the State.

 Basavaraju had convinced S M Krishna on the issue. Infact, the NRSA institute from Hyderabad was given the responsibility of conducting a survey on the pros and cons of the implementation of the diversion project.

An amount of Rs 15 crore had been earmarked only for the survey work, out of which, an amount of Rs 2.57 crore had been sanctioned towards advance sum.  As per the agreement, the final report of the project was supposed to be submitted by 12-09-2004. But unfortunately, even till this date, the final report has not been submitted.

Infact, there is no scope for speculations, for the delay in submitting the report. The people were bogged with doubts and queries like - How much of excess water of Nethravathi River flows into the sea? What if Mangalore, the last destination of Nethravathi River is submerged in the floods? How can we let off waters from Nethravathi River? etc, etc.

And the results of all this was, the project never got the green signal and all the amount sanctioned by the Krishna Government, on the survey works was washed in the drain.
The assurance given by a minister who belongs to Tulu Nadu, in the Wednesday’s meeting has given wings to the hopes of Tumkur people. The people of Tumkur have viewed this as a healthy development.

 Meanwhile, some people have expressed their doubts on this project. Their concern is, after the excess waters from Nethravathi River is diverted to the east, how will it be stopped.

To this, Ugrappa has suggested for the installation of crest gates, which can allow only the amount of water required that needs to be diverted. All in all, the people of Tumkur have reason to rejoice.