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Raise voice against Yettinahole: Greens

Environmentalists have threatened to wave black flags at elected representatives from Dakshina Kannada district, who refused to speak against Yettinahole river diversion project.

“The newly elected seven MLAs from the district and District In-charge Minister U T Khader have to answer to the people. The elected members should raise their voice in the Assembly against the unscientific project and keeping the interest of people in mind should urge government to shelve it,” Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya (SSS) Convenor Dinesh Holla said on Wednesday.

He told mediapersons in Hotel Woodlands here, that the work on Yettinahole project was proceeding at a brisk pace but there was no trace of water at the project site. Holla said that water from Kapila, Kumaradhara and Hemavathi rivers had been diverted to Yettinahole to make it appear that there was water in the stream.

National Environment Care Federation (NECF) General Secretary Shashidhar Shetty said according to government’s notification the entire district (DK) was drought-hit 

“Ironically, it is the same government that is implementing Yettinahole project to supply water from a drought-hit district to other drought-hit districts of Kolar and Chikkaballapur,” he said.

Shetty recollected that prior to the Assembly elections in the state, greens had invited the elected representatives from the district to take part in a public debate on Yettinahole river diversion project.

“Only U T Khader had turned up then. After the Assembly elections, except Khader, all others lost their seats and are now sitting in their homes,” he said.

Greens have warned that all nine tributaries of River Netravati on the Western Ghats faced a threat of drying up due to hydro power projects. The hydel power units in Nidle, Gundya and on Mrithyunjaya stream had stopped functioning.

Yet a survey was launched on setting up hydel power projects in Parpikallu and Bandaje. Two hydro-power projects are being planned in Shishila within a distance of 100 metres.

The region, however, comes under elephant corridor, Shashidhar said and added that government would be setting up 26 hydro-power projects in the district and 260 projects in the state.

The tributaries in the stretch between Elaniru and Pushpagiri are under threat owing to the implementation of permanent irrigation projects. The forest land in the eco-sensitive regions of western ghats were encroached to convert the area into coffee plantations and home stays.

Government had not initiated any action against illegal home stays, resorts and human encroachments in the sensitive regions of Western Ghats, he added.

No steps are being implemented to control forest fire. In fact, forest department officials are hand in glove with the local mafia in plundering natural wealth from the forests.

Agricultural land in the district are being converted into
residential sites and the groundwater level has dipped due to the disappearing green cover.

The district administration should take steps to protect groundwater, he urged.

Committee dissolved

NECF General Secretary Shashidhar Shetty pointed out that a committee headed by K B Koliwad had submitted a report declaring that lakes worth Rs 2,500 crore had been encroached.

“Two months ahead of the Assembly elections, the committee was dissolved by the government.”

Nearly, 850 lakes have been encroached in Moodbidri, Bantwal and Belthangadi taluks. A report on the same has been sent to Lokayukta, he added.

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