Need of the hour: A mass movement against Yettinahole Project

By Florine Roche

Mangaluru, Sep 8: Protest against Yettinahole project is finally intensifying in undivided Dakshina Kannada as students have taken to the streets to protest against the project and joining hands with those who are spearheading the movement. It is true this awakening from the intelligent and enterprising people of this coastal region has come a trifle late, but as they say it is better late than never. Just recently Netravati Samrakshana Samithi organised a protest in front of the DC’s office against Yettinahole project, where they have posed 10 questions to the elected representatives. They have given them a time frame to answer these questions and in the absence of proper response they have threatened to intensify the agitation.

The President of the Samithi during the protest rally had lamented the lacklustre response of the people of the twin districts to Yettinahole Integrated Water Project. His accusation is justified because the jaded attitude of the public when faced with a cataclysm is simply appalling. There have been protests, rallies, seminars, articles and even exclusive cartoon exbitions to highlight the adverse impact the project might pose to the people of the district. Even then it has failed to wake up our conscience and bring us to the streets to protest and forcing the government to stall the project. The project if implemented is fraught with disaster as it might cause damage to this ecologically sensitive region. It might destroy river Netravali and in the process the coastal region sustaining on it may become barren over a period of time.

The involvement of students against the anti-people Yettinahole Project no doubt is a welcome decision. But the need of the hour is for the entire citizens of this coastal region to try to understand the dangers posed by the project and fight in unison against its implementation. The people need to understand that the project is being implemented with the active connivance of some of our elected representatives who are bent upon its implementation to pander to vote bank politics and score political brownie points. Forest and Environment Minister B Ramanatha Rai has been trying tried to mislead the people saying only preliminary work is done in Sakleshpur when on the contrary major work of building check dams is undertaken by throwing all norms to the wind. Even forest trees are felled and permission of the forest department has not been obtained.

Anti Yettinahole protests are being held in Dakshina Kannada since 2013 ever since the project was announced and various committees have been formed to fight against the implementation of the project. However, in the absence of public participation to make this agitation a mass movement, nothing fruitful could be achieved. So much so it is now believed that anything can be done here in the coastal region as the people really don’t care unless the problem comes to the doorstep of the people. Just last month there was no water for about five days. Even then people haven’t realised what it is to be to go without water for more than a day. If Yettinahole project is implemented despite public opposing it, we may have to face a similar situation where we might have to go without water for days together. Further the project might affect the livelihood of fishermen of this coastal region who are entirely dependent on fishing for their livelihood. Under these circumstances the 10 points given to the elected representatives of this region by Netravati Samrakshana Samiti (NSS) have assumed great significance.

Apart from Ecological disaster the implementation of the project might cause, there is a huge expenditure of crores of rupees tax payer’s money. Initially the cost of the project was estimated at Rs. 8323.50 crores and now it has gone up to 12,200 crores. There is every possibility that the budget of the project might cross Rs 20,000 crores when it gets completed.

Drinking Water Project or Political Stratagem?

Yettinahole project is only a minuscule part of the larger scheme of Netravati River Diversion project to provide water for drinking and irrigation purposes in 9 districts that includes Kolar, Chikballapur and Tumkur among other districts of Karnataka. Considering the unusual interest evinced by two former Chief Ministers Dr Veerappa Moily in implementing the project and D V Sadananda Gowda, who actually signed the project during his stint as Chief Minister, there is every reason to believe that the project is more of a political game plan under the disguise of providing drinking water. Despite widespread protests, D V Sadananda Gowda even had the cheek to say he is committed to the project. It is ironical that that he is not concerned about people of the coastal region despite experts forewarning that the implementation of the project will lead to unforeseen environmental disasters.

There is no doubt Nethravati River Diversion is a political project. Former chief minister Veerappa Moily who represents Chikaballapur Lok Sabha constituency though hails from Mangalore has taken fanatical interest in implementing Yettinahole project after he moved to Chikkaballapur constituency in 2009. It may be recalled that as Union Environment Minister he had laid the foundation stone for the project in Chikkaballapur just a few days before the general elections in March 2014 despite people of this region agitating against it. In fact the he laid the foundation stone in Chikkaballapur and not in Hassan from where the water will have to be diverted, which shows the project has political overtones.

Netravati River Diversion involves major irrigation works and is taken up by the government based on the report submitted by irrigation expert (now late) Dr G S Paramasihvaiaha to the government. Paramashivaiah’s report had recommended diversion of flood waters from Sakleshpura to Kolar Chickaballapur districts and he had even objected to when the government decided to go ahead only with Yettinahole project and for not taking up the report in toto.

Yettinahole Diversion Project is planned in the Western Ghats by the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL) supposedly for providing drinking water supply scheme. As per the available information in various media the project is to supply 24 TMC water to Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts involving 8 dams in Western Ghats Forest. However, available data also indicates that just 2.81 TMC water is for drinking purpose and the remaining is to be used for river and tank rejuvenation, irrigation, industry etc.

Inviting Disaster

This isn’t the only dichotomy ever since the project has been planned and controversies have been an inseparable part of this project. Karnataka Netravati Nigam Limited, (KNNL) one among the nodal agencies for implementing irrigation projects, had outsourced the job to a private company for identifying the source for feeding water to Kolar and Chikkaballapur. This company identified west flowing rivers as the source and prepared a feasibility report to divert 10 TMC water from Yettinahole near Sakaleshpur. However KNNL in its feasibility report claimed 24 TMC water can be diverted from the source, which is far from reality. As per the report Yettinahole and its two tributaries, Kadumane Hole, Keeri Hole and Hongadahalla and only flood water was to be diverted.

However, the reality is quite different from what is being projected. According to assessment made by a premier institution like Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore the availability of water from YYettinahole project is at 9.55 tmc only. This naturally has given a feeling that there is some hidden agenda in pushing through the project. There is the question of how the government is going to replenish this shortfall. Those who have spearheaded the anti-Yettinahole are of the belief that the long term plan of the government includes diverting both Kumaradhara and Netravati rivers, which means we are embracing nothing but disaster. This also means that there will not be any water left for local agricultural and other requirements.

Prof S G Mayya of National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Surathkal has expressed dismay at the government’s decision to go ahead with the project. He opines that the water available for diversion in Yettinahole will be only 7 to 7 tmc. So there is no question of getting 24 TMC of water in any circumstances. He also questions the sagacity of the government to spend almost 20,000 crores (estimated cost at the end of the project) just for diverting the 6 to 7 tmc of water to cater to the water requirements to certain areas for only three months in a year.

It is estimated that the Yettinahole project also requires about 370 mw of power. The many hydroelectric projects planned enroute Yettinahole are expected to give only 125 -150 mw of electricity. How this requirement of power will be met is not known. There has been some opposition to the proposed hydro-electric projects on Netravati river also. Dr Ravindranath Shanbhogue who is also in the forefront in opposing the project says “this project is like inviting disaster for the people of the coastal area. It will cause unmitigated danger to the flora and fauna of Western Ghats and would convert this area into a barren land. The project would also pose threat to the marine life of the Arabian Sea and endanger the livelihood of fishermen of the entire coastal region”.

There have been criticisms for those opposing the project saying it is inhuman not to provide drinking water to people who suffer acute shortage. It is not that the people of this region oppose providing drinking water. The opposition is towards the unscientific, myopic and clandestine approach adopted by the government, the nefarious designs to deceive people by hiding real facts and the hidden agenda of some political bigwigs who are bent upon going to any extent to gain political advantage by pushing through the project. There is no meaning in destroying the only source of water that feeds the city of Mangalore and its economy by diverting it unscientifically when there is enough scope to explore other options of providing drinking water for areas facing acute shortage. The project is implemented without adhering to the usual norms like environment protection, forest conservation and wildlife protection acts.

It is time people of this coastal region arise and awake and convert this agitation into a mass movement to force the government to shelve the project before it is too late.


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Comment on this article

  • charles anil dsouza, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 10 2015

    Likes/Dislikes never got has anywhere or got anything achieved. Time to get out and be the change or be part of movement to save some of last bio-diversity hot spots of india. I come once 3 months to my native and get saddened to see a dozen of high rises with lot of investment cash inflow from the west and middle-east, but no one really in these apptments. 60% of these concrete jungles are vacant. Its all in our hands to be self-content and draw line and ask ourselves, How much more do we need ?

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • venu sharma, mangalore

    Thu, Sep 10 2015

    on 12th in Mangalore ( At Mahindra Archade at 6 pm ( need to re-confirm the venue by tumarow)there a meeting fixed to plan on Ettina Hole movement... I feel people read this comment to join the meeting to take/share the responsibility and plan well ....We all see that it is for our good. ...just a line of comment my not be good enough need people in large number, need resources to organise movement more than all this need committed people

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mms, mangalore

    Wed, Sep 09 2015

    "Yettina Hole" , the word itself says "shifting of river". Why can't joint all the rivers of Karnataka in yettina hole project? kaveri, tunga-bhadra, sharavati, kabini, malaprabha, ghataprabha, hemavati, arkavati,kumaradhara, mandovi, these many rivers can be added into the above project along with netravati. Then no problem of water persists in the State. North Karnataka people will definitely misuse the yettina hole project, and so that South Kanara people will have to face draught in our are. It's the right time to demand for the separate state called " Tulunadu" by jointing Udupi-SouthKanara-Kasaragod district?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • sagar, udupi

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    In this matter we all from undevided tulu region people should stand together and fight for our water resource. Please stop blaming political parties this is not the time for that, we have to protest and stop this project in unity.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    I urge Dr. Veerendra Heggade of Dharmasthala to lead this movement.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • B Prakash Kamath, Mannagudda

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Well said Venu Sharma and hats off to you for taking the initiative. Now it is time we fite our own battle leaving aside politicians who play politics even wid our life. You plan out a strategy and give a call to us. I think this is last chance for us the so called intelligent people of this coastal areas. Do or die situation. Let us make it a mass movemnt. It is a democracy and elected reps cannot take projects that are anti-people. let us meet and unite and make a common programme under one team.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • venu sharma, mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Good article on Ettina Hole project.
    My views- I as a brand consultant feel that this movement may end up use less if mangalorians do not plan well. In Mangalore we all are leaders…we only tell listen less ?? because the movement is working at few leaders level, Surathkal, Belthangadi, Puttur …are the few places we have seen people reacting. Political leaders and elected MP & MLA’s along with district in charge ministers have double standards and are not reacting rightly….because the agitation process is dull and they know that we all are dull?. Media is only expressing vague views??
    To make this movement successful we have to have clear GOAL & strategy. We need focus on our end result. Apply best management practice like team work, team building, grouping, communication process, what to do what not to?. Let the local team do their strikes, agitation, at their level but leaders to come to one platform and create ONE single.
    Being a strategic consultant and idea generation person, I am involving myself in to this movement .If leaders already working against this project to come together in one place it can happen easily. I will also join them. Let us make one core committee with single agenda of “ Trashing Ettina hole project as one team” any how I will join the meeting of 12th Sept. and also on 15th in Mangalore & meet the leaders and tell about it.
    We have to create working groups in every city level , district head quarters, village level to create large number for this movement. We should bring different section of the society to one single focus. College students, school students to join boycotting classes. Lawyers team will work on legal battle, youth should be empowered, women groups to join as one, hotels to support for the cause, busses and autos should join the movement as helping hand…we should create leaders for each sections but one thing, fake leaders, publicity seekers, politicians of all parties not worked against this as on date should not be made involved. If they come in this movement will be a disaster and they will break this single TEAM, religious leaders should come as individuals not with fundamentalist approach??
    At least Kudla be ONE on this. Not divided class wise… , community wise…, party wise??
    People sitting outside Kudla “ Mangalore calling” you. please support us. This has to happen ASAP
    Venu Sharma

    DisAgree [1] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deepak, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    I have to speak the truth to all DK people of my region.If God created the earth and he planned how the water should flow in our rivers,then our Govt is stupid enough to play against natures law.
    look at our Dakshina kannada what we don't have, Politicians have given permission to UPCl,MRPL,MCF,BASF- producing poison and many more.Day by day we are inhaling pollution.Our future(If there is one)is stake. More than 60% of tress are cut in past 4 years. Now you people cry for rain? Do you remember those days about 20 years ago every well here had water, air was clean, roads were ok. Weather was good and pleasant.
    Now we are going face water war , many murders and terrors for the sake of water.We have no future left here. Its time to wake up and lead this generation for the sake of next one ,our own children.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [42] Reply Report Abuse

  • Harish, Kadaba

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Time came all of us need to united together keeping religion, politics, casts apart, else our our future generations wnt forgive us

    DisAgree [1] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • peter lewis, Brahmavar/Sharjah

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    All inhabitants of th district unite and tie up Moily and Gowda in one rope and ask for justice. we need person like Hardik patel to make this movement revolutionary otherwise selfish politicians will not listen and understood the grievances and cry of peace loving people. Same time please make it public 10 question which they cannot answer.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Will we ever Clean & interlink Ganga ...

    DisAgree [8] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • RIZWAN, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    This project needs to be stopped ,before its too late ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [36] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vishal, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Once again I appeal to the residents of Dakshina Kannada to wake up from their slumber and see the writing on the wall. This is a project that is going to spell disaster for this region and it is high time we fought tooth and nail to defeat the nefarious intentions of both Sadananda Gowda and Veerappa Moily. There is not an iota of doubt that both these worthless persons have no interest in this region or the people residing here. They are only interested in votes and in filling their bank balances. Setting aside religions, setting aside communities, setting aside political affiliations the people of this region should unite as one family and oppose this project. For once let us do it and prove that we are one when it comes to protecting our environment. You can see for yourself. Due to the senseless cutting down of trees, the amount of rainfall we receive is reducing year after year. Take this year itself and see the scanty rainfall we are experiencing. All this is due to the reckless cutting down of trees. We have already started facing shortage of water and power cuts are here to stay. My friends, just think about the number of trees this project is going to swallow. Greenery will disappear and that will only make matters worse for us. No rain will result in dwindling of the crops and the prices of essential food articles are bound to rise. This will affect each and every one of us and indeed our generations to follow. Let us, therefore, decide now and here whether we want to act now or if we want to lie down and let these corrupt politicians have their way. We will have only ourselves to blame if we do not act now.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Sep 08 2015


    DisAgree [2] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Karthik karkera, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Well said, there are hundreds of lakes in and around Bangalore, they have been polluted and many of them are foaming and catching fire, Many illegal constructions have happened on the lakes by the builder mafia - politician nexus, let them correct that first and provide drinking water to Kolar or Chikkaballapur, why destroy our environment and put us in trouble for their mistakes

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rithesh R B, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Lets unite ,Step forward to stop this project ...we can make it We will....
    Thank you Daijiworld for giving the vast information about the project and exposing the real truth behind this project

    DisAgree [2] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ramesh S, mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    ..forget about the political parties..they are here to reep political benefits..its time religious heads of all faiths come together to save can bring needed awareness among people..when people can gather thousands for communal issues, why cant for this..its 20,000 crores project, this mammoth figure only enough to know the hidden truth..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ganesh, Udupi

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Dear Govt, Please complete Varahi project and prove yourself... Then we can start with this new venture ...

    I am seeing Varahi canal from my childhood days ... Never seen a of dam water except excess rain water logged in canal...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • hans, udupi

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Where is minister Khader? Has he not read all this ? What's the point in admitting a few to a hospital when the entire region itself would be turned to a barren wasteland thanks to his efforts.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • WellWisher, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Dear all,
    If the project is really harm to DAKSHINA KANNADA surroundings and to our future then we all have to join together and stop the project. Don't look about the politicians or to any minister. They all have to respect our requirements and demand. Look about our DK surroundings better future and we all have to move together.

    Not allow to destroy greenery and western ghats. This is the main resource against climate change. If the ghats are smashed and removed then we have to face water scarcity,short of rain fall, soaring temperature we all Manglaoreans have to face regularly.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse

  • jeevan, mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Quick out congi govt...

    DisAgree [37] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • WellWisher, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 08 2015

    Fellow never improve.
    Comparing to previous govt - present govt is far better.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

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Title: Need of the hour: A mass movement against Yettinahole Project

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