Locals at Mekedatu divided over project

Kempamma, from the same community, hopes that the project is implemented as she says she cannot grow any crop on her piece of land, which is raided by elephants and wild boars.

Published: 18th January 2022 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2022 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

The ancient Shivanankareshwari temple at Mekedatu, which could get submerged if the project is constructed | EXPRESS

Express News Service

MEKEDATU: People residing around Mekedatu area have mixed feelings about the balancing reservoir project. While a section of people -- especially youngsters -- are upbeat about the potential infrastructure boost the project may bring in, the older generation is against the move.

“Why should we live here with no proper mobile network or access to transportation facilities? If given good compensation, we are ready to relocate,” says Krishna, a member of the tribal Soliga community. Krishna, who has completed his Second PU, works with the Forest Department on contract, and yearns for a better life, much like his friends outside the forest area, at nearby villages like Uyyamballi and Doddalahalli.

Krishna’s friends find it difficult to communicate with him due to poor mobile network. That was one of the reasons why he sent his parents on the Padayatra taken out by Congress leaders demanding implementation of the project.

Kempamma, from the same community, hopes that the project is implemented as she says she cannot grow any crop on her piece of land, which is raided by elephants and wild boars. The Lambanis too are in favour of the project as the youth from the community have moved to cities, leaving only the elderly here. “I am into contract labour in Bengaluru, while my in-laws stay here. We have been promised better compensation against our house and land which will be submerged once the project is executed,” said Raju Naika.

Most of the youth and women, who live in houses provided by the government at settlements such as Madivala village at the project site, pin their hopes on the movement started by KPCC president Shivakumar and his brother and Lok Sabha member DK Suresh. But the elderly are against the project. “Some 30 years ago, steel and cement was dumped here to commence work, but it did not take off,” said Madaiah.

Shivanankaraiah, the trustee of the ancient Shivananareshwari Temple, built during the Chola period, believes that unless the deity’s blessings are sought, the project will never take off. “We will continue to live here as long as the deity’s blessings are with us,” he said. Others like Siddappaji and Dasaiah also express similar feelings.

Meanwhile, several others are tight-lipped about expressing their objection to the project. The devotees and trustees of the Ganapathi Sacchidananda Swami Ashram are also sentimental about the location, since the seer was born here.


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