Yaragol project lost in wild

Forest Department suggests clearance from Union Ministry of Environment

Yaragol project lost in wild

PLAN GONE WRONG? Rain water flowing in the area where the dam is proposed to be constructed.  DH PHOTOThe ambitious project, on completion,  supply water to Kolar, Malur, Bangarpet and 45 villages on the way. However, the work has been progressing at a snail’s pace for the past 32 months. While laying of pipes is proceeding at a leisurely pace, land acquisition is entangled in one or the other mess.

The project, taken up by Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board, envisages construction of a dam for Markandeya River near Yaragol village. The state government accorded its approval on August 22, 2007 and the Union government on June 16, same year. Lands in Yaragol, Palamadagu and Balamande villages would be submerged for the project. A proposal had been submitted to the Deputy Commissioner for acquiring lands on March 18, 2009. However, the acquisition process is yet to gain momentum.

Joint survey
The fact of not identifying the forest land “properly” in the project blue print came to light during a joint survey conducted by Assistant Conservator of Forests, Range Forest Officers of Bangarpet and Malur and the Assistant Engineer of the Water Supply Board.
The Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) in his March 27 letter to the Board has said that the gomala land proposed to be acquired has geographical features of a forest and hence prior permission from the Union government need to be obtained before proceeding further.

“The area where the dam is proposed to be constructed is a hilly terrain with forest resource. Forest land will invariably has to be used for construction of road and canal. The blue print of the plan, however, does not identify such forest areas. Further, the project requires more forest land than the one shown,” the ACF has opined.
A proposal needs to be submitted to the Union government for acquiring the forest land, at the earliest. Inordinate delay has already been caused in this behalf, it said.

The blue print of the Yaragol project. The areas in red indicate government land and those in blue represent farmers’ land.DH PhotoOther version
Official sources say that a letter has been written to the Revenue Department seeking permission to use the government land for the project. The land where the dam is proposed to be constructed is owned by the government and hence there would not be any impediment in acquisition. However, obtaining prior permission from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is mandatory as there are forests in the project area. Thus, the dam construction may be delayed since clearance should be obtained from the Union government, even if the State gives its green signal.

The question of water supply arises only after obtaining clearance from the Union ministry, proceeding with land acquisition and replying farmers’ objection, payment of compensation and construction of the dam. That too, if it rains copiously and water level raises in the river. “It may take another two years,” official sources said.

 Land proposed for acquisition

Yaragol            70A-29Gs    94A-36Gs
Palamadagu     71A-08Gs    24A-36Gs
Balamande       39A-30Gs    05A-00Gs
TOTAL          181A-27Gs    124A-10Gs
A - acres Gs - guntas

(Water Supply Board had identified 56 acres to forest land, which is disputed by the Forest Department)

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