Parties seek to score points over Mahadayi, Yettinahole

Parties seek to score points over Mahadayi, Yettinahole

Bengaluru: The Kalasa Banduri and Yettinahole projects have been used by all three major parties in the state the Congress, BJP and JD(S) - to gain political mileage but unfortunately, there has not been much progress on the ground.

Every time an election is around the corner, political parties start indulging in a blame game, accusing each other of not taking the two projects - both related to drinking water, and hence sensitive - forward.

The Kalasa Banduri project, which seeks to improve drinking water supply to the districts of Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag, is dependent on the resolution of the Mahadayi river water dispute with the neighbouring Goa and Maharastra.

The BJP made an attempt to use the Mahadayi row as its trump card ahead of the Assembly elections by claiming that it had convinced Goa for a negotiation, but it backfired badly.

At a convention in Hubballi, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa proudly read out a letter written by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that he was ready for talks. However, sensing trouble in his home state, Parrikar backtracked leading to massive protests by farmers against the BJP in north Karnataka.

Capitalising on the situation, leaders of the Congress supported the protest and highlighted how Parrikar had refused to respond to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's letters but had allowed the BJP to utilise the matter for electoral gains. The charge was vehemently denied by the BJP.

Consequently, a Karnataka bandh was also called to coincide with BJP president Amit Shah's visit to the state. On its part, the JD(S) too played to the gallery, charging that the two national parties had not just failed to implement the project for decades but had also created hurdles in getting Mahadayi waters to Karnataka.

The project still remains pending but is a major campaign issue among all political parties in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

Yettinahole project was designed to quench the thirst of people in drought-prone Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagaram, Tumakuru, Bengaluru Rural and Hassan districts by lifting 24.01 tmc ft from Yettinahole, a west-flowing stream, near Sakleshpur.

But the project has led to an east-west divide in the state with the Congress and the BJP entering into a slugfest accusing each other of playing a double game.

The Congress has called out the BJP for holding a padayatra in Kolar and Chikkaballapur seeking implementation of the project while organising protests in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada against the project.

The BJP, on the other hand, has accused the Congress of utilising the project to fill its coffers ahead of the elections.

The JD(S), meanwhile, has tried to fish in troubled waters. Though its leaders have gone on record in Dakshina Kannada stating that the project would be withdrawn if voted to power, they vehemently deny having made any such remark in drought-prone districts.

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