Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday sought to allay apprehensions over the Yettinahole project and said, “There will be no harm to the people of Dakshina Kannada.”
After laying the foundation stone for the project at Chickaballapur, the Chief Minister said, “Another round of talks will be held, if necessary, to clear any doubts about the project. There is no question of diverting the waters of the Nethravati as is being said in Dakshina Kannada.”
Meanwhile, Dakshina Kannada observed a bandh to register its protest against the project. The bandh was total in Mangalore and all the taluk headquarters. Buses and autorickshaws remained off the roads. Schools, colleges and banks were shut. Attendance in government offices was thin.
Referring to the bandh, the Chief Minister said that it was unnecessary and unwarranted. The Rs. 12,912-crore project is being implemented for supplying drinking water to the arid districts of Kolar and Chickballapur. “It is not an irrigation project,” he clarified.
As much as 15 tmcft of water of the total 24 tmcft water to be made available under the project will be used for drinking purpose. The remaining 9 tmcft water would be used to fill tanks in Kolar and Chickballapur where there are no perennial water sources.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said that a “detailed project report (DPR) was done after a detailed and scientific study and I am convinced of the need for the project.”
However, there were protests during the inauguration programme with the protesters saying that the project will not help in solving drinking water scarcity. They said that the foundation stone was being laid in a hurry to reap political mileage in the parliamentary elections.
“The implementation of a project based on the G.S. Paramashivaiah report could be the only permanent solution to the acute water crisis in the central districts,” they said.
The police took into custody the black flag-waving protesters, including the former legislators B.N. Bachche Gowda, K. Jyothi Reddy and Shashwatha Neeravari Horata Samithi leader Anjaneya Reddy.
Union Ministers M. Veerappa Moily and K.H. Muniyappa, Ministers M.B. Patil, T.B. Jayachandra and K. Ramalinga Reddy and Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Math branch participated.
In the afternoon, while addressing presspersons at the helipad in Madhugiri, Mr. Siddaramaiah defended the project saying that 400 tmcft of Nethravati waters went to sea. He said that 6 per cent of this 400 tmcft of waters is being brought through the project to address the drinking water issues in Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Tumkur and Bangalore districts. He said that people did not have proper information about the project. They have misunderstood that the whole of the Nethravati waters is being diverted, he added.