Work on Yettinahole project only after MoEF nod, says Minister Patil

Work on Yettinahole project only  after MoEF nod, says Minister Patil

Water Resources minister M B Patil on Friday said work on the Yettinahole drinking water project would be resumed only after obtaining permission from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for diverting 14 hectares of forest land.

A meeting with the officials of MoEF regional office in Bengaluru has been convened on December 18. The State government will seek permission from the Union Ministry for the diversion of forest land required for the project. The work will resume after obtaining the MoEF’s permission, he told reporters.

The minister had earlier attended a meeting convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to discuss what stand the government must take in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) objecting to the project without MoEF nod.BJP leaders K S Eshwarappa and R Ashoka and JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti attended the meeting held at the CM’s home office ‘Krishna’.

Patil said the next hearing by the NGT being on December 7, the government will seek more time to spell out its stand. The government has already given an undertaking to the NGT that it would not go ahead with the project even in non-forest areas until further orders, he added.

The NGT had asked the government to state its stand on the appropriateness of taking up the project without obtaining MoEF permission to divert forest land. The Tribunal had observed that taking up work even in non-forest land without MoEF clearance was illegal and had asked the Karnataka government why the project should not be stayed, Patil pointed out. Eshwarappa told reporters he had advised the chief minister to skip the process of conducting a social impact assessment for acquiring private land. Conducting the assessment is a lengthy process. A lot of time can be saved if it is skipped.

The government should ensure that the project is implemented at the earliest. People in the water-starved districts of Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru and Hassan are eagerly waiting for the project, he added.

JD(S) leader Horatti said he had suggested to the government to convene a meeting of the elected representatives from the coastal districts and impress upon them the importance of implementing the project.

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