Upper Krishna Project III: Process on to acquire 55,000 acres of land

The Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited (KBJNL), a state government undertaking responsible for implementing the mammoth third stage of the Upper Krishna Project (UKP), is all set to acquire more than 55,000 acres of land.

This is, however, less than half of the total land needed for implementing various components of the highly ambitious project which will irrigate 5.3 lakh hectares of land in six districts of North Karnataka.

In response to a DH article entitled ‘Implementing UKP Stage III, a gigantic task for government’ on June 13, 2016, the KBJNL has sent a detailed report on the efforts it is making, including land acquisition, to implement the project. The report was sent to DH by Dinesh Amin Mattu, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister, as a dossier on the project.

For implementing UKP III Stage, a mind-boggling 1,33,831 acres is required. By September 2015, the KBJNL had issued notifications under various sections of the Karnataka Land Acquisition Act for acquiring 55,734 acres. But it is silent on acquiring the remaining 78,097 acres. Most of the land marked for acquisition is in rural areas and only 2,044 acres is to be acquired in urban areas for construction of rehabilitation centres for displaced families.  Acquiring large swathes of land is necessary for three main purposes.

A whopping 75,630 acres will be required for submergence when the height of Almatti dam is raised from 519.60 metres full reservoir level to 524.256 metres. As per the latest survey, 188 villages in Vijayapura and Bagalkot districts will be submerged in the reservoir water after the dam’s height is increased by about five metres. Out of this, notifications have been issued for acquiring 37,966 acres, including 7,906 structures, in nine villages.

The second major component is that 51,837 acres are required for nine irrigation projects. Out of this, notifications have been issued for acquiring 11,190 acres only. The nine projects, most of them pertaining to giant lift irrigation, are being taken up to irrigate the traditionally drought-prone districts of Vijayapura, Bagalkot, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, and Koppal. These projects are meant for utilisation of 130.9 tmcft of water allotted to Karnataka by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II.

The last but not the least component of the project is rehabilitation. To shift the families displaced on account of submergence of 20 villages, 5,000 acres will be needed and notifications have been issued for acquiring 4,908 acres. Since Bagalkot town will also be partially submerged, 2,094 acres of land will be required to rehabilitate displaced families there.

The KBJNL has issued notifications for acquiring 1,640 acres of land.

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