'Yettinahole project work started before land acquisition'

The State government has quietly started the work on the Yettinahole project in the Western Ghats, before the completion of the land acquisition process for the proposed project, said Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya Convener Dinesh Holla. 

The project was envisaged by the government to provided drinking water to parched districts like Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Tumakuru districts and parts of Bengaluru City.

Addressing mediapersons on Saturday, Holla said, “The work has been initiated without acquiring land, listening to public grievances, recompensing people for the loss of land and conducting a survey of land to be acquired. Also, without availing clearance from the Forest Department, valuable trees including teak and rosewood in Kumbaradi, Kesagaanahalli, Hebbasale and Kuduvarahalli areas of Sakleshpur have been felled to facilitate the work on the road leading to the project site. This is a clear violation of the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act 1976.”

He added that huge pipes, worth Rs 1,200 crore, have been laid on a 48-acre site at Ankihalli, Hebbanalli, Hebbasale and Sathigala. “Without conducting a survey on the water storage and then taking up the work on the construction of the dam, the pipelines have been laid. On the one hand, the State government has been issuing statements on protecting the elephant corridor, but on the other hand, it has been using Kagenere forest area to implement Yettinahole project, which is a part of elephant corridor,” he explained.

“A study by an expert T V Ramachandra has shown that the Yettinahole project will not be able to supply 24 tmc water to the parched districts, as proposed by the Karnataka Neeravari Nigama. The availability of water at Yettinahole is 9 tmc. In the backdrop of such statistics, there is obviously a conspiracy by the State government to make use of 15 tmc water from Kumaradhara River,” said Holla.

Stating that the project will affect the Mangaluru-Bengaluru highway and the railway line, Holla said the project was also totally unscientific.

“By destroying the Shola forest for the proposed project, the authorities are destroying the sources of water for rivers and streams that take birth in the Western Ghats. During the general elections, the manifesto of Member of Parliament Navin Kumar Kateel had been to prevent the implementation of the Yettinahole project. Now, when the work is going on, however, the MP is silent on the issue,” he criticised.

Waiting for verdict
The Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya will decide on the future course of its action after the South Zone bench of the National Green Tribunal delivers its verdict on the writ filed by Malenadu Janapara Horata Samithi president Kishore.

The National Green Tribunal is expected to hear the case within three weeks. It had dismissed the plea to stay the Yettinahole project filed by Somashekar K N recently, said convener Dinesh Holla.

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