Mangaluru: The Karavali Jeevanadi Netravati Rakshana Samiti held a press meet at the Press Club Urva here, on November 23. Addressing the mediapersons, Prof S D Mayya pointed out the facts about the Yettinahole river diversion project.
The Government of Karnataka and the KNNL were to submit their reply on November 18, to the argument of the applicants on interim prayer. Though the Advocate representing KNNL has submitted the argument, it was surprising that the Advocate for Government of Karnataka was neither present nor had the reply submitted”.
Deliberate Misleading of the Tribunal by the Advocate Representing KNNL
The government is continuously misleading the public at every level. Even on 18th November, the Advocate for KNNL tried to mislead the Tribunal by saying that it is a “Linear Project”. The fact that 8 weirs are to be built at different places on different tributaries of Netravathi River, 12 Pump houses built to pump water at different places, about 100 km length of pipe line to be laid at different places, Power transmission lines, Tanks, roads, etc., in the Western Ghats cannot be considered as a linear project! Exclusive railway track, road or electricity line can be considered as a linear project. This argument is again to justify the work that has already began initiated in the project area without completing the legal and statutory requirements.
Dereliction of Duty
How can the Government Advocate be absent when the reply was given to the stay plea of the applicants? We have made both the Chief of Wildlife Authority and the Bio Diversity Board as parties in the application. But till, today they have not submitted their reply. Is it because if they submit the reply, they have to tell the facts which will go against the project/government? Is it not a deliberate dereliction of duty? They are constitutional bodies and are bound to give the factual report. This may go against the Government! Their absence and not submitting report to TRIBUNAL amounts to dereliction of duty.
The Project has no Reliability
The project is certainly going to face shortage of water if implemented. The exaggerated figure of 24.1 TMC of water will never be available in the present form of the project. It is said that about 100 days water is drawn on the basis of rainfall in the catchment. The flow and yield estimation is based on unreliable rainfall data deliberately leaving important available data in the catchment. There are serious conceptual errors in deriving flows for different weir sites. The Tribunal is misled by saying that the flow data is observed at the weir sites. The project components are designed on the basis of this flow. There is no guarantee that the people of Kolar and Chikkaballapur will ever get water in this project. It will be a mere waste of tax payers’ money by constructing unscientific water conveyance system.
The project will simply cause irreparable damage to Western Ghats without serving any purpose.
Water supply projects are to be designed for 90% dependability. This assures to the beneficiaries guaranteed water. In the present case, it is designed for only 50% dependable flow. Further, the available yield is over estimated. It is again said that water is going to be pumped only during peak monsoon days, amounting to about 100 days. Will the Beneficiary region ever get water, particularly the people of Kolar and Chikkaballapur? Thus there is no reliability on the project. It is merely a politically motivated project and not a practical project!
Support from Media
The present relief is not a mile stone, rather it is only a furlong stone. Cooperation is needed from all corners and all the stakeholders are needed by providing all necessary information.
The support from the media is particularly needed by social verification of the reality at the project sites. Fact needs to be reported to the Green Tribunal as any continuation of the work amounts to contempt of Court. It is of utmost important to report the facts to the Tribunal and thereby prevent the waste of Tax Payers’ money.
World Water Development Report 2015 (Para 3.6, Page 27)
This stresses the need for investing in the protection of water related ecosystems, maintaining the essential and varied environment services they provide. In this context, it is very important to protect the forest, environment and the soil on the slopes. If the Western Ghat is not protected from these kinds of dangerous situations, it will be very sure to face the fate of “Uttaranchal”.
Damage to Western Ghats
The project will certainly cause irreparable damage to the Wildlife and the Bio diversity of the Western Ghats. If Western Ghats is damaged, there will be danger not only to the coastal region but to the entire southern India as most of the main rivers originate in the Western Ghats. It is very much necessary that MoEF look into all these issues before giving concurrence to release the forest land for the project.
Decision of the Statutory Bodies
Constitutional bodies like Zilla Panchayat, MCC, Grama Panchayats and other similar bodies have resolved against the project. Then how can the government go ahead with the project without taking into consideration the view point of these constitutional bodies?
Interstate Water Disputes
It is very important to consider the submission of the NWDA in the Green Tribunal. It has very clearly said, “Since 8.98 TMC of water is released to the irrigation tanks in Cauvery and Krishna basin; it has to be accounted by the Cauvery and Krishna Tribunals in allocation of water from these rivers to the disputing states”.
Water Rights of the People of the River Basin/Stakeholders
It is argued before the Green Tribunal by the government that the people of the river basin cannot claim any right over the Netravathi river water. It is very dangerous and the people of the river basin will lose the right to use water forever, if it is not opposed now. This is a violation of the fundamental right of the people in the basin and against the water law.
Supreme Court Verdict
The Supreme Court, in its judgement dated 6th July 2011 in the Lafarge case, has laid down precautionary principles and ordered tests which are to be applied in this project.
- Have all the relevant factors been taken into account? NO
- Have extraneous factors influenced the decision? YES
- Is the decision strictly in accordance with the legislative policy underlying the law that governs the field? NO
- Is the decision consistent with the principles of sustainable development and a balanced decision? NO
- Is the decision of MoEF and Government of Karnataka fair and fully informed based on the correct principles and free from any bias and restraint? NO
It is time for the people to stand above political compulsion and prevail upon the government to stop the project and think of alternative solutions for the people of Kolar and Chikkaballapur.
Advocated Dinaker Shetty, deputy mayor Purushotham Chitrapur, Utha Alva and Kumar Mendon were also present.