Mangaluru: Being a lazy Sunday, while most of the citizens were still bed during the early morning hours, members of two cyclists associations namely Mangalore Cycle Club, and Mangalore Bicycle Club were up and enthusiastically joined in the ongoing protests against the Yettinahole water diversion project by holding a mega cycle ride on Sunday morning, 4 October, 2015. The Save Netravathi Ride, with nearly 60 cyclists including men and women was flagged off by environmentalist and Convener of Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya-Dinesh Holla in front of the City Corporation office at 6:30 am.
The Cycle Rally which commenced from MCC building-Lalbagh proceeded through PVS Junction, Bunts Hostel, Bendore, Kankanady Circle, Pumpwell Circle, Netravathi Bridge and Ullal before stopping at the Netravathi’s confluence with the Arabian Sea. All the cyclists were seen wearing white T-shirts with a saying ‘”Save Netravati River”. The total distance of the rally to and fro was around 28 kms. Necessary arrangements were made for the safety of the cyclists, including a escort vehicle in case of cycle breakdown etc.
Reaching the Ullal spot, Dr Niranjan Rai from Uppinangady, the convener of Anti-Nethravati river Project addressed the Cyclists saying, ” The government has fooled the people by giving wrong information about the Yettinahole project. If this project is implemented we will see destruction of vegetation in the western Ghats. If the government wants to supply water to Chikkaballapur and other places let it take water from Netravati river by laying pipeline from Bantwal, but they should not harm the Western Ghats. This is a unscientific project and will disturb the livelihood of lakhs of people. Diverting Nethravati river will affect citizens badly, as they will lose their single source of drinking water. We should not give up our fight till this project is dropped.”
Anil Shet, founder member of Mangalore Cycling Club speaking to mangalorean.com said, “cycling is perceived closer to nature as the activity does not pollute the environment in any manner. As such, cyclists have decided to exhibit their solidarity with the environment through the ride. We are also upset with the fact that thousands of acres of evergreen forests in the Western Ghats would get destroyed by the Yettinahole project. If that happens, not only the coastal region, but also the hinterlands would be deprived of water due to reduced rains. So we have decided to have this ride to bring awareness among the people to come forward and fight against the Nethravati project”.
Among the 60 or so participants in the ride were- Smitha- Founder member of Mangalore Bicycle Club, Anil Shet-founder member of Mangalore Cycling Club, Shrestajna- Bicycle hobbyist, Anil Shastri-Bicycle hobbyist, Vernon Saldanha- Bicycle hobbyist, Sham Prasad Nayak-top cyclist in India as per Strava App, Donny Menezes- top cyclist in India as per Strava App, Lohith Rao- founder member of MBC and BR Sadashiva Rao- Bicycle hobbyist, and others.