Kundapur: Tank v/s well - protests flare up at Hattiangady
Daijiworld Media Network Ė Kundapur (SP)
Kundapur, Feb 12: The villagers of Hattiangady in the taluk stand divided over a longstanding water dispute. While many of them say they want survival and revival of the tank, the others insist on getting a well. The dispute, which has been getting hotter since the last two weeks, went a notch higher on Monday February 11, with those demanding well locking up the gram panchayat office and the office of the village accountant, while the others demanding a tank, holding a protest rally near the tank.
Both the groups, who stuck to their respective stands, began their protests at around 10 am, and insisted that the district deputy commissioner visit the village personally to find a solution. Under the leadership of sub inspector, Jayaram Deva Gowda, a team of policemen reached the village to handle the situation.
Realizing the seriousness of the problem, more policemen were deployed in the village. Sub divisional officer of Kundapur division, Yogeshwar, and deputy superintendent of police, Yashoda S Vantagody, visited the village thereafter, held discussions with the revenue officials, and decided to go ahead with digging of the well under police security. The protest held near panchayat office was, thereafter, withdrawn.
Gram panchayat members, Muttaiah Kanyana, Prabhakar Shetty, Totabail Santosh Shetty, Srinivas Ganiga, Ashok Devadiga, and several others led the protest.
In the meanwhile, those holding protest near the tank accused the officials of arriving at a conclusion on the issue without conducting spot inspection and holding deliberations with the farmers. The sub divisional officer, Yogeshwar, police circle inspector, and revenue officials then visited the place under dispute, and were apprised of the problems by the farmers. Yogeshwar then said he would bring all the details to the notice of the district deputy commissioner.
The bone of contention is a recent attempt undertaken by Hattinangady gram panchayat to dig a drinking water well by the side of a tank located in the government land. The tank has been in a neglected stage since long, as no desilting work has been undertaken here since long. The panchayat hired a JCB to dig the well, overlooking the opposition, on Wednesday night, but the villagers, who rushed to the spot after coming to know of this attempt, succeeded in stopping the work. The tank, which used to irrigate about 250 acres of agricultural fields located downstream in the past, has become useless, and the fields have turned dry. Repeated demands for rejuvenating the tank have fallen on deaf ears.
During the tenure of Totabail Santosh Shetty as panchayat president, a tender to dig a well by the side of the defunct tank was granted. The effort to build another well in the area was opposed by the people who thought this would affect irrigation of fields. The dispute intensified again on January 25. The effort to dig a well at night on Wednesday was stalled, and officials had visited the village on Thursday. They had promised to ensure that the deputy commissioner would visit the village to sort out the issue.
The people who are supporting the tank, have pointed out that two wells have already been dug near the tank, and that the third one will deplete water resources available for irrigation. They want the well to be dug at a place away from the tank. They say the decision of the deputy commissioner to dig a third well near the tank is unscientific, and have urged him to take a justifiable decision after personally seeing for himself the ground reality.