No change in stand on river diversion: Rai

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Mangalore: ‘My dream is to implement ambitious Paschima Vahini project’

Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment Ramanath Rai has said that there was no change in his stand on river diversion. The diversion of river would lead to decline in water sources.

Speaking to presspersons during his maiden visit to Mangalore after taking charge as the Minister on Tuesday, he said, “my dream is to implement the ambitious Paschima Vahini project, to solve problems pertaining to acute shortage of water. Several dams will be constructed to conserve water, thereby increasing the ground water table.”

The government is committed to safeguard forest and environment.

The Forest Department will be made more environment-friendly and people-friendly. “My dream is to take up a campaign to plant lakhs of saplings in a big way to increase the forest area,” he added.

He promised to provide corruption-free and transparent administration in the forest department.

“I am happy to accept this portfolio which is challenging. I will work earnestly and honestly. Even the officials should work efficiently and lethargy will not be tolerated,” he said.

“So far, all the departments I’ve handled are those related to Khakhi uniforms, such as Home Ministry, Excise, Home Guards, Prison, Fire Services, Transport and now Forestry. There aren’t any more Khakhi departments remaining in the state,” he said with a smile on his face.

“All the Ministers from the district will work towards the integrated development of the district.

We will try to solve basic problems including distribution of sites for poor, row over CRZ, and shortage of water. As a Minister, I will not restrict myself to my constituency alone and will work for the welfare of the entire district,” he said.

Stating that development of Dakshina Kannada would be the contribution of the Congress in the district, he said that the awareness on imbalances in nature should be created among people to help conserve forests.

Neither the BJP-led NDA government, nor the state BJP government has contributed anything towards this field, he remarked, stating that ventures like NITK, NMPT, international airport, railway services, four-lane roads, Mangalore University, MRPL and passport office were all contributions of the Congress government.

To a query on runway expansion at Mangalore airport, the Minister said that the process of land acquisition will be accelerated and we will work on it.

On Niddodi ultra mega power project, he said, “I will look into the pros and cons of the project and then will be able to comment on the same.”

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