MYSURU: With the Cauvery river drying up for more than 20 days, it has affected the pilgrimage to the Malle Mahadeshwara hills. Many devotees throng the hill shrine from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Due to the inability to provide the basic amenities to guests, many guest houses have closed down.
They have no water in sumps to meet the needs of devotees visiting the temple. This acute scarcity of water surfaced since less than a month, and has turned out to be a challenge for the district administration, as there is not a drop of water from borewells atop the hills. The guest houses give just a bucket of water to VIPs and other guests who visit the temple.
Public toilets have not been cleaned up due to this, and many are opting to defecate in the open. Though the State government, with the Centre’s approval, had completed the Cauvery drinking water project, and had constructed a 90 lakh litre overhead tank with three pumping stations, with a 23 km pipeline, to end the water crisis atop the hill, they have not pumped water for the past 23 days.The dried up Cauvery bed is being used as a road by villagers in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, in the border areas. The Rastrapathi guesthouse, atop the hill has also been closed as there is no water.
Festivals, poojas a worry
Special occasions like new moon days and the festival at M M Hills, that draws lakhs of pilgrims is now a bane, as there is no water to meet their basic needs. “We don’t know how to manage lakhs of devotees, who will visit for special pooja on Wednesday,” said guest house manager Basavanna. He said they get water by using a tanker with great difficulty, which gets over in no time.
The Dashoha bhavan offers free prasad to devotees. The temple complex is spared, as two borewells drilled by them are working. The situation would have been awful as the kitchen would have been affected, if the borewells dried up in the temple complex , said kitchen manager Basavaraju.
Hotels will shut down
With no water supply from the Cauvery, or from the local panchayats, hotel owners are shelling out anywhere between Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per tanker on alternate days. They have decided to shut down their hotels, if there is no rain in the next couple of days.
“Hotels which were hit badly due to inflation in food products, demonetisation and the Cauvery issue, are now feeling the pinch of water scarcity. It is impossible to run hotels by spending so much on drinking water everyday,” said Srinivasa, the proprietor of a hotel.
Devotees have suggested to the authority to construct check dams atop the hills, and also across the streams, so that it will replenish the underground water table, and also help meet the needs of both domestic consumption and wildlife.