Karwar: The people of the district have opposed the decision of some organisations here on Wednesday, May 8, supporting the implementation of the Sangamesh Nirani Committee Report recommending joining rivers Ghataprabha and Malaprabha of Belagavi district with ‘lifeline’ of Uttara Kannada district, River Kali.
River Kali, which begins its journey from Diggi village of Joida joins the Arabian Sea of Karwar. There are five check dams that are built on River Kali and it flows through one of the most eco-sensitive areas of the mid-Western Ghats region.
Some environmentalists and social activists believe that diverting the river flow would create a life threatening decision.
The people of the district are saying that this move would lead to protests similar to that against the Yettinahole Project which involves diversion of River Netravati towards six districts of North Karnataka for drinking water purpose.
They opined that the water not only serves the people of Uttara Kannada district, but also the wildlife in Goa and Western Ghat range. It caters to the drinking water needs of several districts and also the plains. They fear that this project too might lead to a massive protest.
River Kali water is also used to cool down the reactors of Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant and because of the check dam that is constructed across the river, the electricity production is also more. The water also provides life to the wildlife of Joida, Dandeli and Karwar forest region.
The environmentalists opine that diverting the river flow will strike a massive blow on the electricity production and lead to a drought-like condition in the forest areas.
N Dutta of Kali Ulisi Sanghatane said, “Some illogical mindsets are debating that this project would prevent a large amount of water from flowing into the Arabian Sea and divert for the people of Bayalu Seeme.”
Ganesh Hegde of Kali Ulisi Sanghatane said, “It is sad to know that people like Sangamesh Nirani, who has formed this report, has no knowledge of its future consequences.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has listed the Western Ghats as one of the most eco-sensitive areas, as it brings in maximum rainfall for Southern India. In a place where laying of railway tracks hasn’t been possible, turning the flowing route of River Kali would be a devastating decision, say social activists and environmentalists.
Meanwhile, the social activists of the district have warned the state government of a massive protest and going out of the way to safeguard River Kali.
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