Mangaluru , Aug 31: “The state government has appointed me as chairman of the legistlative standing committee for backward classes and minority welfare. Usually three-time MLAs and former ministers are appointed to this position, but the state government has kept faith in me and I am grateful to the government,” said MLA of Mangaluru South J R Lobo.

Addressing a press meet at his office here on Monday August 31, Lobo said, “Nearly 60 percent of the population in the state belongs to backward and minority classes. My tenure will be for two years, and during this time, I will tour the state to effectively implement the programms of the government for the welfare of the suppressed backward classes and minorities.

Speaking on the proposed Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water project, Lobo said that the state government should implement this project only after taking the people of Dakshina Kannada into confidence. “I demand the government to prepare a detailed study report on the project by experts. Will it affect the Western Ghats or the coastal belt? If it does, then it should be opposed. If it does not have any adverse affect on the coastal region and the environment, the government can go ahead with the project after taking people’s opinions into consideration,” he said.

“In a meeting of MLAs and ministers from the undivided Dakshina Kannada convened by the chief minister, I had made by stand clear. I had asked the government to tell the people of Dakshina Kannada clearly about how exactly the project would be carried out and whether it would affect them or the environment. The government should be make sure if the project would meet the water requirement or not. The CM assured during the meeting that he would hold a public hearing with the people around Netravati,” he said.

He also said that he has asked the government to construct a series of vented dams for the west flowing river at a cost of Rs 1000 crore which will increase the ground water and meet the demand for cultivation and drinking water needs of the city.

When media persons asked if he had not gone through the report of the Indian Institute of Science which claimed that the project would adversely affect the environment, Lobo said, “I do not know about the report by Indian Institute of Science. I have not gone through it.”

Asked if the government would go ahead with the project if experts were to find that it would harm the environment, Lobo said, “I will stand by the people. If there is no problem, there is no objection.”

When a reporter asked if he would urge the government to stop the ongoing work at Yettinahole till the study is complete, he said, “Yes I will. I will demand the CM to prepare a detailed project report and hold a public hearing, and to stop the work till the project report is ready.”

Asked why the MLAs of the district had still not visited the project site, he said, “It was not necessary for me to visit the place. I will think about it.”

To a query on whether he would join the protest planned on September 15 against the project, he said, “Being a representative of the government, I cannot protest. We have to look at other ways to solve the issue.”

Courtesy : Daijiworld