A proposed project of the Congress-JDS government to build a 125-ft tower at the site of the Krishna Raja Sagar dam on the river Cauvery in honour of “Mother Cauvery” has been opposed by river activists and farmer leaders from Mandya region.
The construction of the 124-ft tower has been jointly proposed by Water Resources minister, Congress’s D K Shivakumar, and tourism minister, JDS’s S R Mahesh.
Veteran activists like 87-year-old G Madegowda of the Cauvery Protection Committee — who has campaigned for decades for Karnataka’s share of the Cauvery water — have opposed the project and warned of an agitation in Mandya region.
At a recent meeting of activists and farmers in Mysuru to discuss the proposed tower and an amusement park near the dam, G Madegowda, a former Congress MP, said the proposed project could endanger the dam at a time when it is need of repair.
“Plans for construction activity near the dam will only weaken it. There is a lot of illegal sand mining in the riverbed which the state must stop to protect the dam. The state is proposing construction instead of planning to strengthen the dam,’’ Madegowda said. “Farmers must come together to oppose the move since these activities will have a bearing on them,’’ he said.
“To build a 125-ft tower, they will have to drill into the earth around the dam and this can damage the structure of the dam,’’ said B Nagendra, a local leader of farmers’ outfit Raitha Sangha.
Some farmer leaders have said the proposal is an attempt by people with vested interests to grab land.
A week ago, Water Resources Minister Shivakumar stated that the state is proposing construction of a 125-ft tower on government land near the Krishna Raja Sagar dam as a tourist attraction. A museum, glass viewing structures and an indoor stadium would be part of the proposed project, he said.
Shivakumar claimed that funds would be collected from private investors for building the tower and no government funds would be spent on the project.
The minister claimed that a new lake would be created near the dam where the tower would be constructed. “The land belongs to the government. We will ask investors to invest in the project and no government money will be spent,’’ Shivakumar said.