Thursday, August 21, 2008

No water to sustain Devanahalli boom

No water to sustain Devanahalli boom
Yeddyurappa Govt Set To Clear 6 More Mega Projects Worth 2,500 Crore In Parched Land

Bangalore: It’s a classic example of progress without a plan. With the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) rewriting realty equations in Devanahalli, the state is set to join the party by clearing more projects in the area. The boom, though, comes without a basic requirement: water.
Among 20 infrastructure projects — including an integrated steel plant in Bijapur, integrated steel plant and slag-based cement with power plant and a fuel ethanol plant — the state high-level clearance committee (SHLCC) chaired by the chief minister is expected to clear on Thursday, six have been proposed in parched locations in Devanahalli.
Over 1,000 acres are involved in these projects worth a staggering Rs 2,500 crore. They include hospitals, an infrastructure park and real estate projects. All this in an area that’s already reeling under acute water crisis.
From the early 1960s, Devanahalli has been considered an area over-exploited for water. The current spurt of development in the area will cause further depletion of groundwater. Earlier, environmentalists had raised concerns over the real estate boom in and around Devanahalli, citing serious implications on the already abysmal groundwater levels.
Ironically, a few days ago, BWSSB minister Katta Subramanya Naidu proposed to bring Krishna water to Devanahalli. Just the next day, his boss, the CM, shot down the idea. Now, the authorities are planning to bring the Arkavathi downstream to quench the area’s thirst.
The six projects, combined, require water in the range of 70 MLD. In one of the proposals, the water requirement has been shown as 1 MLD after 2012. The proposal, though, comes with the rider: “if available’’. While the state dissects these proposals, thousands of villagers in and around Devanahalli can now expect drier days.
The crisis doesn’t seem to have hit the planners, though. The promoters have proposed clearance to these projects by banking on methods like rainwater harvesting and recycling systems to meet the water requirement. “As part of the proposal for a real estate project in Devanahalli, the promoters are pitching for about 25 lakh LPD of water from local authorities. This is apart from the 55 LPD of recycled water and 15 lakh LPD of water from RWH that the 167-acre project requires. When the local authorities are struggling to meet the people’s modest water demands now, the plan to draw such huge amounts comes across as unrealistic,’’ explained officials at the urban development department.
With the concept of RWH taking time to take off in the state, the prospects of industrial groups constructing large tanks for the purpose are also marginal.


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