Daijiworld Media Network - Beltangady (SP)
Beltangady, Mar 20: The state government, which has procured large number of pipes for carrying water from Yettinahole project near Sakleshpur to Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, and Chikkaballapur districts, has now come out with plan to pump purified sea water from desalination plants to these parched districts.
This modified plan coming from the government which had stood its ground about executing this project any cost, is a turn-around and shift from its earlier stance. In a similar case, the government had shelved steel bridge project at Bengaluru after allegations of kickbacks surfaced. Yettinahole project too has come across resistance from environmentalists, while many have also alleged of huge amount of bribes changing hands.
The government's stated plan to carry purified sea water through the pipes earlier meant for Yettinahole indirectly gives an indication that it was aware about non-availability of sufficient water in this project. It appears that it wants now to stop Rs 13,000 crore pertaining to Yettinahole project from going down the drain. Out of this, Rs 1,800 crore has already been spent for constructing protective walls, which will be a waste if the project fails to take off. Perhaps, to make sure that grants get released further too, the plan to pump sea water has been thought off as a viable alternative.
It may be recalled that state urban development minister, Roshan Baig, had said that the government is considering the practicability of supplying processed sea water through Yettinahole pipes to Kolar Gold Fields in Kolar district, if the technology of converting sea water into drinking water is proved to be cost effective. He also had said that with private participation, a new township in 11,000 acres of land at KGF with provision to house 20 lac people to live in has been envisaged.
Although the government is thinking of alternative plans, strangely Yettinahole project is continuing to be executed. Work on construction of vier in package 1 of the project is in progress. Construction of pump house under package 2 is also moving at a brisk pace. Out of eight water harvesting constructions, six have been completed. It is said that minister, M B Patil, has asked the officers to collect water during the coming monsoon and divert the flow to parched lakes on both side of the pipeline. Therefore, actual purpose of the project, which is stated to be drinking water, is still shrouded in mystery.
A committee led by the chief engineer of Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board, which has been entrusted with the work of conducting study of social affect of the project in 23 villages, land from which will be required to be acquired for the project, has been going ahead with its work. It has also been checking the land records of families. Thereafter, special gram sabhas have to be convened. Pending completion of these procedures, the works under the project, which have been given on contract to various firms, are continuing to be held.