News & Pics: Fr Richard D’Souza
Thousands of students supported by leaders of various communities including the leaders of the catholic church of Mangalore marched in protest against the controversial Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project on Saturday September 19 towards D C Office.
Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu Vicar General Mangalore diocese, Fr William Menezes PRO of Mangalore diocese, Fr Victor Vijay Lobo Director Sandesha, Fr Ronald Prakash D Souza Director ICYM / YCS and Fr Richard D Souza Director Canara Communication Centre took part in the rally and urged the government to drop the project.
Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu said, “The water which comes from Netravati river is the lifeline of Dakshina Kannada people. Let the ministers provide water to other districts, but without snatching the rights of our people.”
Addressing the protest, Sri Esha Vittaldasa Swamiji of Kemar Math said, “Every student must support every call which is for welfare of the people of Dakshina Kannada. Our voice against this project should not stop here. It has to continue till the project is dropped. Nature is the face of Almighty God and Netravati is God’s river. Earthquakes and tsunamis are happening because of humans. We are spoiling our nature. No matter who has implemented this project, it has to be stopped, or we will continue our protest, and no matter which organization holds the protest, I will come and support.”
State legal advisor of All-College Students’ Association Dinakar Shetty said, “It is high time for politicians of Dakshina Kannada district to hear our demands. This district has produced many politicians and great leaders for the country, but so far they have not supported us in any good cause. We have never discriminated against anyone, any district or state. We are not saying that we will not give water to others, but there is no water for ourselfves in the first place, so how can we give others?”
Association president Rohini said, “Even after the people of Dakshina Kannada held a massive protest in Uppinangady, these ministers refuse to hear our voices. Despite so many protests and awareness, they choose to remain silent. They have no shame at all. Till now I have not cast my vote in elections, and until and unless there is a candidate who supports our causes, I do not want to vote. I will not vote until the present ministers are gone.”
Activist M G Hegde said, “We have to convince our ministers and bring them on our side. I want to ask the ministers whether they want good people on their side or the bad ones. Dakshina Kannada people gave the ticket for minister U T Khader to contest, but he is not supporting us. Do not think we are fools who keep flowers in our ears. This is going to be a huge revolution. Whoever is drinking water from the Netravati has to wake up to the fact that the water level is decreasing. This protest is not only for Netravati, it is also for the lives of the people of Dakshina Kannada.
“If the Netravati river is diverted, then Dakshina Kannada people will have to migrate to another place. After 10 years, the future generation will blame us if the project is implemented. Right now, there is only 8.5 TMC of water and the ministers are saying 24 TMC water will be provided through this project. I want to inform the ministers that there is no water at all and there is no proper rain either in Dakshina Kannada.”
Taking potshots at minister for water resources M B Patil, he said, “M B stands for ‘Maha Brashta’. We can do press meets anywhere we want – if you have guts try stopping us. Every single student who has gathered here should become a leader. Every student must go to every single street and spread awareness on the problems we are going to face if this project is executed. This is the only way to gather the people of Dakshina Kannada to support the cause.”
Student activist Avinand Achanahalli said, “From many years we are protesting, still the ministers are not showing any support to us. If the ministers do not answer the 10 questions on the project, then it is clear that they would be fully responsible for the destruction resulting out of Yettinahole project. Nowadays people go and stand near the ministers for photo-ops. It is actually a nuisance. If you want to take photos, take of those leaders who are supporting us.”
The protestors also shouted slogans and burnt pictures of former chief ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Veerappa Moily to express their ire.