People take to convention at Halkurike to protest in favour of water project

An offering to the Goddess of Water was made, symbolic of a protest demanding the implementation of the original plan to get water to the Halkurike tank in the taluk.

The Ganga Pooja was conducted on Monday by members of various organisations, including the permanent irrigation struggle committee and the Raitha Sangha.

The original plan was altered as it was against the forest laws, and, in an attempt to redistribute the water. Various organisations had, however, shown strong opposition to the move. The new plan to dig a canal in the forest using an earthmover was expected to be an unhealthy option, and, as a precautionary measure, officials of both the Forest and Police Departments were placed at the site during the work.

Legislator T Shadakshari had, on Sunday, assured that the government would be requested to go ahead with the original plan, which led the protesters to calm down greatly.

On Monday, the leaders of the struggle committee, heads of various religious organisations and the public organised the Pooja at the Pattadadevarakere tank, which is considered the seat of the vantage point of the canal, to pressurise the government to implement the project without further delay.

Former Parliamentarian G S Basavaraj, who addressed the public gathering on Monday morning at Halkurike before the prayers, called upon people to ensure supply of drinking water is not affected by political rivalry. “The project related to the Halkurike sub-canal 2 is fit to be implemented, and should get no objection from even the Forest Department.

But the farmers should pressurise the government to get a green signal from the Department and then implement it at the earliest,” he said and added, “The local legislator cannot merely write to the government in favour of the implementation of the original project. He should show support to the farmers who have been demanding the project.”

Dr Mallikarjuna Deshikendra Swami, seer of the Tammadihalli Mutt, warned that the protest would not be withdrawn unless the project was indeed implemented. “The farmers of the region should show an initiative in taking up a fight for the cause fearlessly. Without an irrigation-related revolution, we will not see better times,” he said.

Dr Yatishwara Shivacharya, seer of the Kuppoor Mutt, concurred with Basavaraj that a forum to fight for the welfare of the people should not used for political benefits. He warned that while the legislator Shadakshari’s promise to support the implementation of the original plan on the Halkurike canal was appreciable, a back-stance would result in a step-up of the fight. “The next level would be a unification of the current and former legislators and other leaders into a forum to single-mindedly fight for the water supply,” he said.

Farmer leader Shankaranna blamed the inaction and lack of diligence on the part of the district administration for the delay of the government to implement the project on the Halkurike sub-canals 1 and 2. “The farmers of both Tiptur and Chikkanayakanahalli will need to unite and fight strongly against the district administration if we are to avoid further delay in the implementation,” he reminded.

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