Vellore and coastal Karnataka are miles apart but they seem to share a common poll issue when it comes to sharing of water from Nethravathi River.
This has become a poll issue in the constituencies of Dakshina Kannada and Udipi as the Congress candidates in these constituencies have opposed diverting around 24 tmc of water from Yettinahole rivulet, a tributary of Nethravathi river, to cater to five districts around Bangalore in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bangalore Rural and Tumkur.
Interestingly, the sitting MP of Vellore Abdul Rahman had made a representation in Parliament recently seeking extension of this project to cover Vellore district by forming a canal from Kolar to link Palar river in Vellore district as a viable plan to revive the dying Palar and to improve the water situation here.
Quoting media reports, consumer activist Rathnasamy said the Netravati river diversion project to provide drinking water to parched districts of south Karnataka had become a bone of contention in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections not only in Karnataka but also in Vellore. He said it was unfair on the part of the Congress candidate of Dakshina Kannada constituency B Janardhan Poojary not to allow the project.
While people in the benefitting districts in south Karnataka wanted the project to be implemented and the candidates in these constituencies were also making promises in this regard, those in the coastal districts of Karnataka had set aside political differences to oppose it in the elections now without realising how it would affect people of their own State and others in the neighbouring State, said A Asokan, secretary of the Organisation for Environmental Protection and Rural Development, an NGO, here.
Abdul Rahman (IUML), who is contesting from Vellore for the third time now, said he had proposed to divert around 25 tmc of water from Netravati river diversion project to benefit Vellore. He said he had also mooted the formation of a ‘Palar River Authority’ to work out the dynamics of sharing of water.
Rahman said Chikkaballapur MP and the Union Minister M Veerappa Moily, who had got elected in 2009, on the promise of providing water through the Netravati river diversion project to his constituency, had also laid the foundation for the project just before the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections recently.
“Revival of Palar through Netravati link is my priority and my poll promise for the people of Vellore,” Rahman said. As the West flowing river, an estimated 2000 tmc of water from Netravati was getting drained into Arabic sea, which could best be utilised this way and this is a win-win situation for everyone. “What we are seeking is the extension of the already approved project and I expect things to get sorted out after the polls,” he added.
'Will Back party that will save Palar'
Vellore: The Vellore District Palar Protection Association, a NGO, has decided to support candidates, who promise to revive and protect Palar river, in the LS elections. A resolution to this effect was passed at a consultative meeting held in Ambalur village near Vaniyambadi on Sunday. The meeting was chaired by association president Jamuna Thiagarajan. The members of various NGOs decided to support candidates, contesting from Vellore Parliamentary constituency, who would take steps to revive and protect Palar river, which was the lifeline of northern districts of the State. The meet decided to form a special committee to follow up the work taken by the government to revive Palar river through inter-State river link projects.