'Change route plan for water from Tunga to Bhadra dam'

'Change route plan for water from Tunga to Bhadra dam'

Vittal Hegde warns of protest; 25,000 trees may be axed, livelihood to be affected

Environmentalist Kalkuli Vittal Hegde on Tuesday urged the government to change the route identified to supply water from Tunga river to Bhadra dam through lift irrigation.

The present route would impact 250 acres of forest area along with the villagers at Sathkoli village, said Hegde.

Addressing media in town, Hegde said that instead of lift irrigation, the water can be channelised through its natural course.

If, however, the route is altered by laying water pipes towards the eastern side of Thoobinakere in Kusubur, the length of the channel could also be decreased further thus protecting larger forest area, he added.

The project is intended at supplying water to arid districts like Chitradurga and the surrounding areas, with 11 km of the channel going through Narasimharajapura taluk in Chikkamagaluru district. It will be 400 metres wide and 75 foot deep from where water will be collected in two huge wells, before releasing into Bhadra dam.

“If it becomes a reality, a total of 25,000 trees will be axed in the eco-sensitive zone at Aramballi forest too. Of the total trees identified to be cut, 2,000 have been already axed. The Union Ministry of Environment and Ecology had laid down certain norms before approving of the project in February 2016.

“However, the norms are being flouted. Following a protest, the cutting of trees has been stopped for now,” he added.

Speaking further, Hegde said, “Of the total land identified, 10 acres belonging to a private party at Sathkoli are yet to be acquired. The village assumes significance as the dwellers were rehabilitated after they lost lands during the construction of the Bhadra dam in 1955. Over 100 families who lost their properties for the dam have settled here. While 75 acres of the total of 300 acres of land reserved for the same families has been allocated for different purposes. The Forest Department has acquired the remaining area of land.”

Hegde, who hinted at launching an intensified struggle, reminded that the efforts made to convince Water Resources Minister M B Patil to change the route have gone in vain, as the minister who had promised to take action after conducting a survey in this regard, has reneged on the same. On the other hand, the works are going on in full swing.

Tribal leader Mariyapa, secretary of Nellibeedu Samrakshana Samiti Suresh Bhat, Ghouse Mohiddin from Komu Souharda Vedike and Raitha Sangha leader Duggappa Gowda were present on the occasion.
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