Yettinahole comes at a big green cost, offers little: Activists

Greens say norms violated while approving project, plan to move Supreme Court
Last Updated 27 August 2015, 20:07 IST

A total of 400 acres of forest area will be either destroyed or damaged in the 60-km area lying between Hiridanahalli (where the first weir for Yettinahole project is coming up at Hongadahalla) and Haravanahalli (where 8th and last weir is coming up at Doddanaagara) in Sakleshpur, says Dinesh Holla, convenor of Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya (SSS).

This excludes the 800-km water pipeline to Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkaballapur and parts of Bengaluru. Of the 800-km pipeline, the distance between Doddanaagara and Devarayanadurga (near Tumakuru) is 270 km, through which water is proposed to be supplied via open channel. Distribution pipelines form the remaining length. The Pushpagiri forest range (a World Heritage Site) is not too far from the project site.

Till date there has been no gazette notification, social impact study or public hearing, a must for mega projects.

The entire project (the total cost may cross Rs 20,000 crore) which may cause irreparable damage to Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, has already obtained clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

In an RTI reply to Prof S G Mayya, chairperson of the Department of Applied Mechanics and Hydraulics of the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited says that the project does not attract provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) scheme as it pertains to drinking water. Malenadu Janapara Horata Samithi convenor Kishore Kumar said that any project requiring more than 25 MW of power comes under the EIA Notification 2006 and will have to get MoEF clearance. “The project requires 275 MW, over 10 times higher than 25 MW,” Kishore said. Sources said, the contractors have been buying land from private owners/farmers for manufacturing and storing pipes.

Land acquisition

“While the land is sold officially for about Rs 15 lakh per acre, in reality they would have paid anywhere between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 80 lakh,” said a farmer. Holla said that the government had started the work on the project, but land acquisition has not begun.

The SSS will decide on its action after the south zone bench of the National Green Tribunal delivers its verdict on the writ by Kumar and V V Bhat.

It had dismissed the plea to stay the Yettinahole project filed by Somashekar K N recently, said Holla. Somashekar plans to approach the Supreme Court.

(Published 27 August 2015, 20:07 IST)

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