Water theft with pipes uncovered at KRS Dam
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Water theft with pipes uncovered at KRS Dam

March 2, 2024

Water clandestinely pumped to farm houses; officials disconnect supply, seize equipment

Mysore/Mysuru: Amidst declining water levels at the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam in Srirangapatna Taluk of Mandya District, distress calls echo across Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and Ramanagara districts due to acute water scarcity.

This precarious situation notwithstanding, shockingly, it has come to light that certain influential individuals have been clandestinely drawing water from the Dam’s backwaters through unauthorised pipelines to fulfil the needs of their farm houses and resorts.

A raid conducted yesterday by authorities of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited (CNNL) uncovered this illegality, resulting in the confiscation of equipment and immediate intervention to address the issue.

Near the main entrance of the Dam backwaters, a farm house purportedly owned by an influential official was discovered. The facility was equipped with electricity-powered motors surreptitiously drawing water from KRS backwaters through nearly 300 meters of illegal pipelines over several months.

Despite residents raising concerns with CNNL authorities, no substantial action had been taken earlier. The blatant theft of water, especially in a region falling under the Cauvery River basin, has sparked public outrage. Residents claim to have alerted CNNL authorities about the theft in the past months, but no action was initiated.

Despite clear evidence of daylight water theft at the KRS Dam, authorities have been sluggish in conducting investigations, drawing widespread criticism. Prompted by local media inputs, officials have finally initiated raids. In addition to confiscating motors and pipelines, authorities have disconnected illicit electrical connections supplying water to farm houses and resorts.

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During the raid, a worker from the farm house disclosed that the property belonged to an influential Police Officer. “We have been employed at the farm house, earning a meagre salary of Rs. 6,000 per month. Both my son and I work here,” the worker revealed, also confirming the extraction of water from the Dam in recent months.

Questions have arisen regarding unequal treatment in the Cauvery issue, with farmer leaders expressing outrage over the lack of action against influential individuals while farmers and residents grapple with water scarcity. They lamented the delayed response from the Mandya District Administration, despite the declaration of a ban on water release.

In response to mounting public anger, officials have initiated a thorough investigation into the unauthorised water extraction facilitated by electric motors.

CNNL AEE Kishore Kumar led the raids. Officials have asserted that the unauthorised diversion of water is unacceptable, vowing to take appropriate action to address the issue.

Action in Mysuru District also

Under the leadership of CNNL Assistant Executive Engineer Kishore Kumar and Assistant Engineer Suresh Babu, operations were conducted around the backwaters of the dam. An unauthorised water pipeline was discovered at a resort in the Hale Unduwadi village of Mysuru district, prompting officials to promptly sever the supply line.

Furthermore, authorities also dismantled pipes that had been illicitly laid by some farmers on their lands. During the raid in Hale Unduwadi village, a farmer pleaded with officials not to disconnect the pipes, citing their necessity for watering livestock and fodder.

Presently, the KRS Dam has 89.98 feet of water, considerably below its maximum capacity of 124.80 feet. The total water collection currently amounts to 15.973 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet), while the maximum capacity is 49.452 tmcft. With a dead storage of 5 tmcft, the usable water capacity is now limited to only 11 tmcft.

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Officials hand-in-glove?

Following the busting of illegal water extraction from the KRS Dam for farm houses, questions arise regarding the possible collusion between CNNL authorities and the offenders. The public alleged that this unholy alliance prompted CNNL authorities to act only after the media uncovered the illegal activity. With the impending summer exacerbating the demand for water, a thorough investigation into the matter is imperative to uncover the truth.

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