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The ratha yatra launched by Kalasa Banduri Yuva Horata Samiti and the Karnataka Raitha Sena at Banashankari in Badami of Bagalkot district reached Dharwad on Tuesday after passing through Ron, Gadag, Nargund, Ramadurg, Savadatti, Navalgund and Hubli.
Soon after reaching the deputy commissioner’s office, the protestors began a relay hunger strike. They handed over to the deputy commissioner, a memorandum addressed to the chief minister urging the latter to take steps to implement the Kalasa Banduri nala irrigation project.
Addressing the protestors, convenor of the march Vijay Kulkarni said the state government was equally responsible for the non-implementation of the project and charged that the state government was trying to escape its responsibility by citing legal and technical hurdles.
He said, the environmentalists who are opposing the implementation of the project were silent when Maharastra built nine barrages and constructed Tilahari dam. “Of these, the water in seven barrages is harming the forest area of Karnataka and none of the environmentalists have raised a voice against it. They were silent when the forest was destroyed for laying Konkan railway lines,” he alleged.
Kulkarni said, the constitution of a tribunal at the behest of Goa to decide on diverting Mahadayi water to Malaprabha was uncalled for. “Kalasa Banduri Nala project should be kept out of the purview of the tribunal as the project basically caters to the drinking water problem of North Karnataka,” he asserted.