Former Minister raises concern over Yettinahole project

Bengaluru: Former Minister Ramesh Kumar on Thursday raised concerns on the competence of an advocate “not presenting” proper arguments to defend the stand of the state government to execute Yettinahole project works before the Southern Zone Bench of National Green Tribunal.

The Bench, in its ruling recently had extended the stay it had granted earlier against continuing with the execution of project works.

Raising the issue in the Assembly, Ramesh Kumar (Cong) said “I want to know from the Water Resources Minister (M B Patil), what prompted the tribunal to give the order against execution of Yettinahole project works? I am not commenting on the tribunal’s decision. I want to know whether the counsel was competent? Did he present appropriate arguments to defend the government’s stand?”

If the counsel could have presented relevant documents and arguments before the tribunal, the state could have got a favourable ruling, he said, adding, “why should the counsel seek for more time? Was he incompetent to present the arguments in favour of the project?”

Karnataka Niravari Nigam Limited (KNNL) and the government had sought more time for submitting their arguments on the interim application.

KNNL has been executing the project meant to divert 24 tmc ft of water from the Yettinahole to the parched regions of Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Tumkuru districts.

Countering Ramesh’s arguments, Patil, said the advocate had presented the arguments appropriately, and the government had sought forest clearance to take up the work.

“Why should the government seek permission for forest clearance when the work is being executed in non-forest area? What is the logic to apply for forest clearance, when the work is to be taken up in non-forest area”, Ramesh asked.

As many as three petitioners had approached the tribunal questioning the execution of the project by KNNL, which allegedly was violating the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act and the Environment Protection Act.

KNNL counsels have submitted before the tribunal that they will not carry out any work till further orders of the tribunal.

The tribunal has posted the hearing of the case to December 7, Patil said.