Scribe slams Paschimavahini project

Scribe slams Paschimavahini project

It is a scheme to fill pockets of contractors- Rajaram Tallur

Udupi: In the ‘PaschimaVahini (river garlanding project of west flowing rivers) project announced in the 2022 state budget, Rs 1025 crore has been allocated in Udupi district. Writer and journalist Rajaram Tallur said that the 424 vented dams are nothing short of filling the pockets of contractors. “If the government was serious about this project they would have conducted tenable surveys and assessment of the water available from this project, which has not been done” he observed.

Rajaram Tallur, who is known for his straightforward and outright stance against issues concerning the larger interests of the larger people, was speaking at the Gandhian Center for Philosophical Arts and Sciences (GCPAS) in Mahe, in collaboration with Hiriadka Sankruti Siri Trust, he presented the topic at a seminar on 'water crisis in Udupi district' organised at Sarvodaya hall of the institute on Saturday.

He said that this 'contractor-friendly' project should be completed in five years. “We have seen no such intention in the project as the scientific study of the project is absent and there is no transparency, he said.

Varahi project is a curse for the district: He said that the Varahi project, which has been going on since 1979, is a curse for the Udupi district, which started as an irrigation project, and now it has expanded to the entire district as a drinking water project. He predicted that if this project is carried out following all the rules, it will not be completed even after 10-15 years.

The foundation stone of this project was laid in 1979 by the then Chief Minister Gundurao, and in 2017, it became a drinking water project. At present, the water of Varahi is not reaching Udupi. In 1979, the project cost was 9.43 crores, but in 2006, the total cost of this project was Rs 569.53 crores.

44 years after the project started, there are no signs of it ending. He alleged that the Lokayukta conducted an investigation into the shady businesses that surround the project and submitted a report to the government in 2018, but the government has not taken any action on the report so far.

As per the initial Varahi Irrigation Scheme, the left bank canal was to come up to Barkur through Shiriar. The original plan to provide water for a total of 101 days from February to May, when there is a water shortage from Barkur to Udupi is now 40 km due to the private power lobby and lease lobby. He said that it has been converted into a huge project of Rs 122.50 crore to bring water from Bharatkal to Haladi to Baje through a 3-foot pipe.

Although there is enough water in the Swarna River, which supplies drinking water to Udupi, there is a possibility of water shortage for about 101 days. Thus, it is possible to get water from four nearby streams - Sita, Madisalu, Pangala and Udyavara. He said that for this, a scientific study should be done on the water available in the rivers.

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