National

Experts oppose Netravathi river diversion project

Our Bureau Mangalore | Updated on August 27, 2013

Any effort to divert the west-flowing Netravathi River to eastern parts of Karnataka will have economical, cultural and ecological impact, according to an expert.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘River water diversion’, organised by the Guruvayanakere-based Nagarika Seva Trust, N.A. Madhyastha, an expert on biodiversity and former principal of the Udupi-based Poornaprajna College, said a river is a living system, and any move to change its direction will have adverse impacts on the environment.

The State government is planning to divert the Netravathi river waters from Yettinahole area in the Western Ghat region to districts such as Chikballapur and Kolar in eastern part of the State.

Stating that the government has already constructed a 4-km-long road inside the Western Ghat near Yettinahole, he said each 100 metre in the area had rich biodiversity species. Such developments would lead to the extinction of a rich biodiversity in that region, he said.

G.S. Paramasivaiya, who proposed the Netravathi water diversion project, may be a good engineer but he is not an ecologist, Madhyastha said.

On the economical impact of such a project, he said both agriculture and fisheries along the course of the Netravathi river would face problems. A place called Shishila in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada has a fish sanctuary. This sanctuary has sacred value also. That could be affected if the river water is diverted, he said.

Y.B. Ramakrishna, former chairman of the bio-fuel taskforce of Karnataka, said development activities such as hydro-electric power projects in Uttarakhand led to a major disaster in June. The Uttarakhand-like incidents are not far away in Karnataka if the government went ahead with the river diversion project, he warned.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 27, 2013

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