Mangaluru: Various organization along with the support of student organizations, staged a road blockade at Pumpwell Circle here, on October 15.
The agitation is in protest against the implementation of the Yettinahole project which is likely to drain the district’s lifeline, river Netravati.
The protesters gathered at the Mahaveer Circle, Pumpwell to raise their voices against the government to stop the Yettinahole river diversion project.
Addressing the protesters, Dr Niranjan said that the people have gathered in large numbers to protest against the Yettinahole project keeping aside party differences, caste, creed and religion at Pumpwell Circle. “Tulunadu has a rich culture which is in trouble due to the Yettinahole project. Recently, the National Green Tribunal sent a letter to the Supreme Court saying that the people of Dakshina Kannada do not have any right to protest against the Yettinahole project. In the media, they have highlighted that the people of our district are against providing water to Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. In this regard, the government should be transparent. The people of DK are not against providing water if there is sufficient water for our district.”
“When the protest for Kalasa-Banduri project was taking place, leaders from Bengaluru also came to join the protest. But for the Yettinahole project, the government is very relaxed. We will not stop our fight till the Yettinahole project is stopped,” he added.
Speaking to the mediapersons MLA J R Lobo said, “The Yettinahole project is turning in a different mode, people of DK are protesting against the project. In this regard, myself and capt Ganesh Karnik have raised the issue in the session. The government should take scientific survey and prepare a detailed project report. DK people are intellectuals and it is the duty of the government to make the people understand about the project. If the project will harm the western ghats, if there is water scarcity even after spending so much money, the government should drop the project. If the project will not harm the western ghats or there will not be any water scarcity for the people of DK, let the government have a discussion with the people of DK, and make them understand, because if there is no harm for the western ghats or problem in the availability of water then the people will not stop them. He said that without taking the people of DK in to confidence and continue the project, there will be fighting between the districts and this should be avoided”.
Addressing the protesters Swamiji from Odiyoor Math Shree Gurudevananda Swamiji said that we are not against the government in providing water to the people of Kolar or Chikkaballapur but we are against the government for the unscientific method in implementing the project. DK people are peace lovers and people from other districts think that we will tolerate if the Yettinahole will be diverted. But now the Swamijis have come out on the streets to fight against the protest. If the project will not be stopped, in the coming days all the Swamijis will join hands with the people of DK and intensify our protest, he warned.
Swamiji also said that the state government has bought a diamond nose ring in the name of Yettinahole river diversion, if the nose will be cut then where will the ring be worn, he questioned.Swamiji urged the government to stop the project immediately.
Sri Vittaladas Swamiji of Kemaru Math said that instead of fighting in the name of Hindu, Christian and Muslim, let us all unite and fight as Mangaloreans. Today we have protested by blocking the road in Pumpwell, but in the coming days, if the project will not be stopped we will gheroa the Vidhana Soudha, he said.
Sri Vajradehi Math Gurpur Sri Sri Sri Rajashekarananda Swamiji said, “Every year during the rainy season the Kumaradhara and Netravati river overflows but this year both the rivers are not full. If the Yettinahole river will be diverted, there will be water scarcity in the district. We the people of Tulunadu should fight till the Yettinahole project will be stopped. If the government will not stop the project we will demand for a separate Tulunadu state,” he added.
Muslim leader Haider Parthipadi said, “Government should understand that the water is not flowing from lower to higher level, it always flows down. The state government should not attempt to divert the river which flows downwards. If the political leaders are fooling the people to retain their seats and making the DK people to sit on the roads to protest against the Yettinahole project, the days are not far when we will make them to sit on the road by pulling them down from their chairs.
Dinaker Shetty, Dinesh Holla, Vijay Kumar Shetty, Rahim Uchil, Sharan Pumpwell, Satyajith and other organization leaders also spoke on the occasion. MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, deputy mayor Purushotham, Capt Ganesh Karnik, Fr William Menezes, Fr J B Crasta, former mayor Ashraf, M G Hegde and others were also present.
Later all the protesters were arrested by the police.