Mangaluru: now, eco-activists’ NOTA to Netravathi diversion

Mangaluru: Politicians campaigning for the coming state elections could have a hard time in Dakshina Kannada as the people here are seriously considering hanging up boards outside their homes asking them to keep away and also using the "None Of The Above" (NOTA) option in the polling booths to teach them a lesson. Influencing them are environmentalists  protesting the diversion of a Netravathi tributary to the parched districts of the state at the cost of the DK's own needs.

The eco activists have come out with their own version of  NOTA, which reads as Netravathiyannu Ottagi Tammadendu Anumodisona, meaning “Let us all unite and decide that the Netravathi river is ours.” Spearheading the NOTA campaign are the Sahyadri Sanchaya and National Environment Care Federation, which have been in the forefront of the anti- Yettinahole project movement. "Projects like the Yettinahole diversion damage the environment and will deprive the people of Dakshina Kannada of the water they need. Our elected representatives here have done nothing to stop the project despite our demands. If the forests of the Western Ghats are destroyed,  it will impact the people of the district. When no party is ready to help us we felt it was time we vented our anger against all of them by using the NOTA option in the coming elections," says Sahyadri Sanchaya convener, Dinesh Holla.

Recalling that in the 2014 parliamentary election the district recorded 7,109 NOTA votes and in the zilla and taluk panchyat elections of  2016 the number increased to around 30,000 votes, he says in these elections, the campaign for NOTA was limited to some pockets. “But this time we are looking for  a massive response,” he reveals. The protesting organisations are toying with the idea of fielding their candidates in the election as a “warning” to political parties not to take their support for granted.

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