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Diverting west-flowing rivers will be unnatural and unscientific: Ashisar

Staff Correspondent

— FILE Photo: R. Eswarraj

The Netravati near Mangalore.

TUMKUR: Anant Hegde Ashisar, chairman of the Western Ghats Task Force and environmentalist, has said that he will oppose any move to divert west-flowing rivers, including the Netravati.

Addressing staff and students of Tumkur University at its new campus on Bangalore-Honnavar Highway here on Tuesday, Mr. Ashisar said he and the Western Ghats Task Force would fight any move by the State Government to divert any west-flowing river or stream, however small. More so in case of the Netravati, the life-line of the Ghats and its surroundings in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts, he added.

He said that unscrupulous people had brain-washed certain political leaders and the latter had in turn misguided the State Government about the proposal of diverting west-flowing rivers, including the Netravati, for the benefit of the people of nine districts.

“This is an unnatural and unscientific proposal. It is only an imagination of some people. It can neither be proved feasible economically nor can it be implemented,” Mr. Ashisar said.

He said the proposal had somehow acquired emotional content and every other political leader had started talking in favour of it while trying to earn political mileage. Gullible people had been taken for a ride.

Mr. Ashisar said that any unnatural diversion of the flow of even a small stream would cause havoc to the bio-diversity of the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats are the prime assets of the nation insofar as bio-diversity was concerned. “We cannot afford to ignore any move causing danger to the Western Ghats,” he said.

He wondered how leaders from Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi could remain silent over the proposal and said: “People and their leaders, religious and social, have expressed shock over the proposal.”

G.S. Paramashivaiah, a retired superintending engineer, made a proposal to the State Government to divert the Netravati for the benefit of the people in the plains in 1997.

Late J.H. Patel and S.M. Krishna, former Chief Ministers, took keen interest in the proposal and ordered an aerial survey, which is yet to begin.

The proposal though has received thumping support from the old Karnataka region, has been opposed by eminent persons from the Karavali region, including the head of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, Veerendra Heggade.

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