Protesters against Yettinahole project block NH

Protesters against Yettinahole project block NH

Protesters against Yettinahole project block NH

 Workers of various organisations and environmental activists in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district today blocked the Mangaluru-Bengaluru national highway at Uppinangady near here demanding that the Yettinahole river diversion project be dropped.

The work on the about Rs 13,000 crore project had started early this month at Sakleshpur in Hassan district, which had been opposed by politicians, local people and environmentalists, saying it would dry up the Nethravati river here, the lifeline of Dakshina Kannada district.

Farmers, college and school students are participating in the protest that began at around 10 am. The protesters earlier took out a procession from the government First Grade College to the highway junction.

The call for highway block was given by the Nethravati Nadi Tiruvu Yoganeya Virodi Horata Samiti (Committee against Nethravati river diversion project).

Youth Congress members also joined the protest despite Congress MLA Shakuntala Shetty representing Puttur constituency trying to dissuade them.

Politicians in Dakshina Kannada are in a quandary over the ongoing project, which was initiated by the previous BJP government in the state. With protests mounting from all sides, people's representatives of both BJP and Congress in the district are openly opposing the ongoing project, though they had unanimously passed the scheme in the Assembly.

BJP's Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel had already written a letter to the Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati to halt the ongoing work till the doubts about the project were cleared. He also said it was not clear from where the estimated Rs 13,000 crore for the project could be mobilised.

Forests Minister and Dakshina Kannada district-in-charge, Ramanath Rai, addressing reporters here yesterday, had stopped short of disowning the decision to implement the project.

The Minister said he could not personally own responsibility for taking up the project as all parties were involved. He also admitted that 13.92 hectares of forest land in Sakleshpur would have to be cleared for the project.

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