Mangaluru: The Yettinahole jig-saw puzzle is getting more and more complex with the passing of each day.
The ruling Congress leaders say that the project was approved and funds for it were allocated by the previous BJP government. The progress of the project has reached such an advanced tage when nothing can be done to shelve it, according to them.
The state’s BJP has taken the official stand on similar lines, asserting that the Yettinahole project was meant for providing the people of inland Karnataka with drinking water and that it would in no way affect the water resources of river Netravati. On the other hand, the anti-Yettinahole agitation is quite vigorous in Dakshina Kannada, because of the worry that their lifeline, Netravati, could be drained dry.
Contrary to the party’s stand, the Lok Sabha member from DK, Nalin Kumar Kateel, has been opposing the project. He even led a delegation to Union minister Prakash Javadekar and a march on foot to Sakleshpur to register the opposition of the people of the district to the project.
Union minister of Law D V Sadananda Gowda, who as chief minister had cleared the project during his tenure, and former chief minister M Veerappa Moily both are in favour of Yettinahole project, although both hail from undivided district.
It is because Gowda was elected from one of the constituencies in Bengaluru and Moily from Chikkaballapur in the last Lok Sabha elections. They have the compulsion of remaining faithful to the their adoptive soil, if not to the soil of their birth.
Hence they have incurred the wrath of the anti-Yettinahole activists, spread all over the basin areas from Farangipet right up to the bottom of the western ghats like Uppinangady and Shiradi. The activists have vowed to greet the two former chief ministers with black flags and gheraos whenever they arrive in the district.
Therefore both of them reportedly pay visits to their home districts without any fanfare. While in Puttur last week, Gowda reportedly defended the Yettinahole plan and questioned the bona fides of those against it. He termed the agitators as pseudo-environmentalists and claimed that their motives were politically biased. What is worse, Gowda even asserted that he was unaware of the delegation taken to Javadekar and the march to Sakleshpur by the DK MP.
This has angered those with real concern for the future of the district at heart, irrespective of age. In a hard-hitting and candid statement, Sadiq Bareppady, general secretary of All-college Students’ Union (R), Mangaluru University, has posed a few straight questions to Union minister Sadananda Gowda. The questions are relevant and thought-provoking.
Firstly, if those opposing the project are pseudos, is the MP from DK, who is also opposing it, a pseudo?
Secondly, is your statement an upshot of the fact that you were not invited to be part of the delegation or the march to Sakleshpur by your fellow-Lok Sabha member and party colleague, Nalin Kumar Kateel?
Thirdly, is it possible that in case your party’s MP and other ‘pseudo activists’ from your party did indeed invite you to be part of the agitation, you may have avoided joining because of the wrath of the people or since everyone is aware that you are the one who gave the green signal to the project, in the first place?
Fourthly, you have also stated that to take any action at this stage, you are neither the chief minister nor the irrigation minister and that you would discuss the matter with the chief minister. The intelligent people of our district cannot fail to understand that this statement has been cleverly worded in view of the forthcoming zilla panchayat and taluk panchayat elections. When you are thinking in terms of speaking to the chief minister now, what was your motive when you were the CM yourself?
Fifthly, is it not high time that all attempts to fool the people be stopped, especially in the wake of the way your party has lost heavily in Karnataka and other states because of its faulty and foolish policies? At this rate, the day is not far when your party would lose at the central level also.
Besides Sadiq’s views, reports from Puttur and Sullia suggest that there are steady attempts by both Gowda and Kateel to run down each other. Some leaders from these two taluks recently convened media meets to criticize Kateel for trying to ruin the image of DVS.
The intelligent people of the district are at the crossroads, quite undecisive about whom to believe.