Drinking water woes rule roost at C'magaluru ZP meeting

Drinking water woes rule roost at C'magaluru ZP meeting

Water-related problems dominated the Zilla Panchayat’s general meeting held here on Monday and the members, cutting across party barriers, demanded solutions for the woes.

While a section of the members wanted a special meeting to chalk out redressal measures, some others wanted the district administration to revoke its order prohibiting drilling of borewells, at least for drinking water purpose.

68 villages hit

Member Ravindra Belavadi, who raised the issue, initially questioned the measures taken by the district administration to address drinking water needs. When he could not elicit a satisfactory reply, he highlighted that an estimated 68 villages, covering Belavadi and Kalasapura regions, are plagued by drinking water problem.

There are reports of cattle dying due to lack of adequate water at Sadarahalli. If the government fails to devise alternative measures, it would become inevitable to launch overnight protest either in front of the Zilla Panchayat or the deputy commissioner’s office, he warned.

Another member B G Somashekar said, “The problem has aggravated for the only reason that the district administration has restricted drilling of borewells. The restriction should be relaxed at least for the cause of drinking water”.

Taluk Panchayat President Eshwarahalli Mahesh, who was also attending the meeting, said, “Similar is the situation at 13 villages in the taluk. Strangely, if native methods are deployed to identify the source of water, if that can be drilled further, the officials attached to the Mines and Geology Department cite the order that prohibits any such activity”.

Sufficient funds

Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Dr Ragapriya, who intervened, said, “Sufficient funds are available under Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) to supply drinking water through tankers. When there is no provision to issue permission for new borewells, the private borewells will be taken into possession by the government to supply drinking water”.

Not satisfied, some members charged that the officials have stored paddy grass instead of ragi grass to feed the cattle mainly in ‘Bayalu Seeme’. Strangely, the livestock here feed on ragi grass. Kadur taluk is already facing severe drought, doubled by lack of adequate feed, he added.

When another member K R Anandappa reminded that the DC should have convened a meeting to take up precautionary measures to tackle drought and drinking water problems, Zilla Panchayat President Chaitrashri Malathesh promised the members to fix a schedule to convene a special meeting.

Delegation to CM

Later, Mahesh Wadiyar, a member sought the details about the status of the decisions taken earlier, wanted the Zilla Panchayat to take a delegation  to both chief minister and rural development and panchayat raj minister over the issue.

This led to exchange of words for some time, as members belonging to ruling BJP, especially Raveendra, questioning the veracity behind some  opposition Congress members meeting Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara who is also the district in-charge minister.

Mahesh and another member Prabhakar clarified that they had met the minister to discuss party issues, as he is also the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).

MLA C T Ravi, who intervened, advised Mahesh to fix a schedule to lead a delegation to the district in-charge minister, after the row over sharing Cauvery river water subsides.

Violation of protocol

The members, irrespective of party affiliations, accused the officials of violating protocol, ignoring the Zilla Panchayat members during national festivals, local festivals and birth anniversaries.

Following this, the Zilla president and the CEO directed assistant director, Department of Kannada and Culture and executive officer of taluk panchayat to look into the issue.

‘Namesake’ chairman

Chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Health and Education Banakal Shamanna, who turned emotional, offered to step down as officials are not takings his directions.
The officials have ignored requests seeking information on the related issues, he
said. “This reason has forced me not to continue as namesake president,” he added.

The issues related to lack of adequate doctors at hospitals and Mescom engineers of not cooperating in addressing drinking water complaints were also discussed.

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