Yettinahole project: Experts tear into DPR; activists question timing of meet


Pics: Spoorthi Ullal
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (DV)

Mangaluru, Sep 19: The public meeting held by the district administration and the state government on the controversial Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project witnessed heated discussions and arguments, during which experts on hydrology tore into the detailed project report (DPR) prepared by the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL) and asserted that the project was not feasible.

Incidentally, the meeting was held at zilla panchayat at the same time as the 'Uttara Needi' meet with elected representatives at Roshni Nilaya, which had been announced by organizations opposed to the Yettinahole project days ago. Many activists present during the meeting expressed suspicions that this was deliberately done to avoid the 10 questions posed by the organizations to elected representatives on the project. Nevertheless, the programme at Roshni Niyala was not cancelled.

The meeting at the zilla panchayat was chaired by district incharge minister Ramanath Rai.

In his introductory address, deputy commissioner A B Ibrahim said, "The government had conducted a meeting on the Yettinahole project a year ago, but after demands from the people of Dakshina Kannada, we have called this public meeting to clarify doubts."

Chief engineer of KNNL Cheluvaraju and MD Rudraiah were about to make a presentation on the project, when they were stopped by the activists who insisted that they should first answer their questions.

"We have already studied the project. The officials should first answer our questions," said M G Hegde.

MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said, "The meeting of the government was held one year ago. Why did it take so long to hold a public meeting on the project? When the project has already begun, can you (government) stop the work, convince the people and then resume it?" The officials did not answer Kateel.

Dr Niranjan of Anti Netravati River Diversion Action Committee questioned the timing of the project and said, "Why was this meeting called all of a sudden within 24 hours?" to which Dinesh Holla of Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya added, "From one month we are talking about the 10 questions posed to the elected representatives. Why did you (district administration) have to organize this meeting at the same time as the 'Uttara Needi' meet? Why could not this meeting be held tomorrow?"

No one responded to their questions, till finally Ramanath Rai appealed, "This is a sensitive issue and all people should cooperate."

Rudraiah said that the DPR on the Yettinahole project was prepared after taking suggestion from Dr Ram Prasad and the Indian Institute of Hydrology.

Prof S G Mayya of NIT-K, an expert in hydrology said, "The National Institute of Hydrology is an independent agency. Do not make people lose faith in it by quoting the institute. In the first report prepared by the KNNL, it says 6,280 mm of rainfall is available and 24 TMC of water can be provided through this project. The Hydrology Instutitute also puts the figure at 23.41 TMC. How did you calculate this? Did you calculate the water in the catchment area at Yettinahole?"

Cheluvaraju replied that the calculation had been based on the flow of rainwater into Bantwal as measured by the Central Water Commission. The statistics were sent to the Hydrology Institute which then came up with the figure of 23.41 TMC.

Prof Mayya then pointed out mistakes in the DPR and said, "You have shown amount of water flow in Yettinahalla and Bantwal as same. It shows 30 percent more water than is available in the catchment area. Your DPR cannot be accepted because of conceptionalization error in the flow of water. You have prepared the report based on mere assumptions. There are many mistake in the DPR itself, so it should be rejected."

Though the officials tried to counter his claims, he was not convinced.

"The whole DPR is fabricated with lies. It should be thrown into the Netravati river," added M G Hegde.

Prof Mayya further asked the officials how they measured 6,280 mm of rainfall in catchment area and whether there was any raingauge station to measure it, to which Cheluvaraju again said it was based on the measurement by Central Water Commission (CWC).

Prof Mayya noted, "It is very sad that the CWC is being misused by the state government for this project. In the DPR, the measurement of 6,280 mm is taken from a raingauge in one of the private estates. This is wrong. It is a project worth Rs 12,000 crore of taxpayers' money. How reliable is the data obtained from a raingauge in a private estate?"

There was no answer to Prof Mayya's concerns.

"There is a conceptual error and hence this project cannot be accepted. There are many mistakes in the DPR itself. The truth cannot be twisted," Prof Mayya added.

Prof Mayya further questioned, "What is the government's stand on riparian rights and prior appropriation water rights? It has been stated before the National Green Tribunal that as the rivers are not connected inter-state, there is no riparian right. Then who will guarantee people's right to water?

Cheluvraju replied, "People have no right as it is within the state, hence riperian rights do not apply here. We have told this to the Green Tribunal."

When asked if he was ready to give this in writing during the meeting, Cheluvaraju refused and said he would give it to the DC.

At this point, M G Hegde created a furore when he remarked, "The chief minister is trampling on the people of Dakshina Kannada." The arguments then took a political turn and chaos prevailed for nearly 10 minutes, even as Ramanath Rai appealed not to bring politics into the matter while declaring that 'Rumour mongers are national enemies'.

Nalin Kateel backed Rai on this and said, "We are here to seek justice and not to quarrel. If this does not stop, we will boycott the meeting and go away."

Prof Mayya also appealed not to bring politics into the issue. "It is because of all the politics that we are suffering," he noted.

"In the DPR it is also mentioned that 2 TMC of water is enough for Kolar and Chikkaballapur now, and in 2023, the demand will rise to 5 TMC. We are ready to provide water but not by harming the Western Ghats. It will also affect the entire coastal region and not only west-flowing rivers but also east-flowing ones will be affected. Rainfall depends on the Western Ghats. If this project goes on, we will suffer in future," Prof Mayya said.

"There should be at least 30 percent of continuous water flow in any river. If Yettinahole project is completed, salinity will increase and marine life will also be affected, which in turn will affect fishermen," he pointed out.

M G Hegde asked the KNNL officials about when and how the project was started, to which Rudraiah replied, "This project is based on the concept proposed by Paramashivaiah. Based on his report of the year 2001, the project has been implemented."

Hegde then pointed out that Paramashivaiah had himself said that the project was not feasible, to which there was no answer.

Activist Shashidhar Hegde said, "Rs 12,000 crore of taxpayers' money is being spent on the project. If this project fails, will you pay back the money to the people? Who will take the responsibility for this?

In reponse, Rudraiah said, "The project will not fail. We have done 130 projects and no work has failed."

Intervening, M G Hegde took the example of the Varahi project and said, "The Varahi project was started 36 years ago and its cost has increased from the initial Rs 5 crore to Rs 500 crore. Who is responsible for this? Irrigation is the most corrupt department in the state."

Ramanath Rai said in conclusion, "These issues will be brought to the notice of the chief minister, the irrigation minister and more meetings will be held in Bengaluru. However, the project will go on. This is a sensitive issue."

Nalin Kumar suggested, "Let each organization opposing the project send two experts to the deputy commissioner and let them have a meeting with the state government officials, the ministers and the CM. This must be done in 15 days."

MLC Ivan D'Souza, MLAs Shakuntala Shetty, S Angara, and others were present.

  

Comment on this article

  • Vishal, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 20 2015

    I suggest protest rallies should be taken out in each and every town and village of our district. We should not let the government walk over the people. Without an iota of doubt, we will suffer if the government goes ahead with this project. Also remember, both the Congress and the BJP are on the same page as far as this project is concerned. If we can drive away the British from our land, we can certainly stop this project if all the people unite. There is strength in unity. The government cannot force anything on the people if that is not liked by them.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • AKEEL, DUBAI

    Sun, Sep 20 2015

    THESE POLITICIANS ARE PLAYING WITH PEOPLE S SENTIMENTS..
    THEY ARE GOING TO PAY A HUGE LOSS FOR NOT LISTENING TO THE CONCERNS OF THE LOCAL CITIZENS..
    LET US TEACH THESE MORONS A GOOD LESSON (POLITICAL)THIS TIME THAT THEY WILL NOT FORGET IT FOR THEIR LIFETIME..

    DisAgree Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • madhava k.padubidri, mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 20 2015

    Dear citizens,
    If you visit UAE. that too Dubai -Sharja highway,you will realize ..the barren DESERT is transforming into beautiful economic activities,american institutions,industries,appt..but here two Ex. chief ministers nexus with some lobby going to kill western Ghat and beautiful coastal district.Call both Sadananda gowda and Moily criminals ? Still they are justifying it.They were silent for so many years,last month only both opened their DIRTY MOUTH?

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dodanna, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    Dear All,
    Now the city surroundings amnd respective citizens experiencin ghe climate change. If we further allow to demolish the natural wealth greener then it is our stupidity and defiantly one kind of feeding poisons n difficulties to our future generations. Suggest to study qry about rest of the developed country. Howe they protect their greenery
    Off course they all are far advance than our country but they never touch their natural wealth.
    Hope all agree on given above two lines. First feed our homes then to the others.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Wilson, Yekkar / Dubai

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    As soon as this project completed please gather again to prepare detailed project report (DPR) how to provide water from Tungabhadra river Or Cauvery river to D.K. in 2025.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Twitter.com/Ka19Man, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    Looks like our politicians learnt about danger to our district, now. during this meet, after the project is already started.

    Look at their face.

    We can stop this project now also

    DisAgree Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse


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