TUMKUR: After many controversies, the Netravathi River Diversion (NRD) project takes a new turn, as its lobbyists term it as the project of diverting the west flowing rivulets. The project was conceived three decades ago by former PWD superintendent engineer G S Paramashivaiah, when he presented a proposal to the state government in 1973.
Though a former chief engineer had made fun of it, Paramashivaiah had lobbyed along with support from S Nijalingappa, Huchamasti Gowda and others.
Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) was assigned to conduct a survey in 2001, at the cost of Rs 14 crore, of which the government had released only Rs 2.52 crore. The NRSC did the field survey and Ariel Laser Terrain Mapping (ALTM) in 2005 and gave it up, submitting a detailed project report (DPR).
No successive governments showed interest until the B S Yeddyurappa-led BJP government released Rs 6 crore to NRSC and made the ALTM bring the project back on track. When SMK was the CM, the congress leaders of Tumkur including Tumkur BJP MP G S Basavaraju, then in Congress, had lobbied successfully and this time the latter did it given his proximity to BSY.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda expressed his commitment for the project in Tumkur on Sunday, but issued a contradictory statement in Kuppalli on Monday, stating the project was not feasible. Followers of Tumkur MP questioned the integrity of the chief minister. While the Western Ghats Protection Taskforce chairman Anantha Heggade Ashisara speaking to Express clarified he will react only after going through the DPR, G S Paramashivaiah said the project will never affect the biodiversity, as the water will flow on gravity. Except some D grade coffee estates nothing will be affected in the Western Ghats, he observed.
The Netravathi River, a non-perennial river in Dharmastala will also benefit from the project, he said. In the first stage of the project, 149 TMC ft of water will be fetched to help three taluks of Hassan, six from Tumkur, five from Kolar, six from Chikkaballapur, four each from Bangalore rural and urban and one from Ramanagarm district. BWSSB will get 12 TMC ft of water, which will cut cost to consumers by 50 pc.