Bengaluru, Jan 12: Despite the state government facing stiff opposition from various quarters to execute the multi-crore Yettinahole project, the work has not stopped on ground zero. Also, the government has no intention of stalling the work.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had convened a meeting on December 27, 2016 to discuss the Yettinahole project, which aims at bringing water from Sakaleshpur in Hassan district to various districts such as Kolar, Chikkaballapur and parts of Benglauru Rural.
At the meeting, elected representatives from the BJP and activists from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts had strongly opposed diversion of the Netravati river water. On last Wednesday, Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and RSS leaders had announced that the diversion of water from the Yettinahole, which feeds water to the Netravati river, would not be allowed.
Officers who are monitoring the Yettinahole civil work on a daily basis in the villages of Sakaleshpur taluk on Wednesday told DH that there is no instruction from the government or court to stop the work. Except felling of trees in the forest areas, the rest of the scheduled works are on.
Four officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) visited the Yettinahole project sites on January 4 and 5. The officials visited the project site on the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) as certain individuals and an NGO have moved the Supreme Court against the project. The objections raised include large-scale tree felling and illegalities in the execution of the work. The MoEF is scheduled to submit its report to the NGT on January 16.
The state government officials have claimed that the construction of weirs (low dams) that form the lift component of Stage I has been going on. About 60% of the work has been completed by constructing six of the eight weirs.
As the project is mainly for providing drinking water, there is no need to obtain environment clearance for the project. The MoEF has cleared the project and power supply has been sanctioned by the KPTCL. The government has opted for both, direct purchase of land from farmers and parting with its own land for the project. The total land required for Phase I is about 257 hectares. The forest land required is 13.93 hectares, the government land 33 hectares and the remaining is private land. For Phase II, 4,913.13 hectares would be required.
The total cost of the project, as estimated in 2012-13, was Rs 12,913 crore. So far the government has sanctioned Rs 1,800 crore. The project aims at lifting and distributing 24 tmcft of water and of these, 15 tmcft would be for drinking purpose.
Sources said permission has been taken for chopping 11,000 trees. Of these, 6,000 are in the forests. So far, nearly 2,500 trees have been axed in the forests. For now, clearing of trees has been stopped in view of the NGT hearing. But, the work on the lift irrigation component is on.