PM Modi’s Mahadayi view triggers ‘Maha’ row

Hubballi: The speech by PM Narendra Modi on various local issues, including Mahadayi and Kappatta Hills, in Gadag, has caused resentment among farmers and Congress leaders here as they contend that his statements are far from the truth. 

Mr Modi had on Saturday targeted the Congress accusing them of  plundering the rich natural resources of the picturesque hills spread over 18,000 hectares in three taluks. Meanwhile, farmer leaders claimed that the BJP’s promise to implement Kalasa Banduri project is just an eyewash to woo  voters as the Mahadayi tribunal will give its verdict in August this year.

Congress leaders claimed that it is the BJP government which had attempted to encroach on the vast Kappatta Hills and tried to destroy the rich medicinal plants instead of protecting it, by permitting the South Korean steel plant Posco in 2011. The locals and environmentalists had launched the movement against then BJP government under the leadership of Dr Siddalinga Swamiji of Gadag Tontadarya Math. Lambasting the PM, rural development and panchayat raj minister H.K. Patil termed Modi’s speech a bundle of lies and sought an apology. 

Stating that BJP leaders including Jagadish Shettar had failed to turn up at the meeting of environmentalists convened by the seer, the Congress leader claimed that their party workers had actively taken part in the campaign to protect the hills. “The BJP government had given orders on February 20, 2008 to undertake mining in Kappatta Hills. BJP was in power when the party  signed an understanding with Ramgad Minerals and Mining Limited on November 23, 2009. Lease was given for mining in the hills when Yeddyurappa was in power. Therefore, the PM’s charge against the Congress is false,” Patil said.

Expressing cynicism over the commitment of the PM to resolve the Mahadayi dispute if BJP comes to power, the farmer leaders alleged that Modi is merely playing votebank politics without convening a meeting of all three states to find an amicable solution despite repeated pleas and violent agitations.  

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