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Sira byelection: Water woes on campaign trail

In water-starved Sira, much of the talk ahead of the bypolls has been around what political parties have done or plan to do to quench the thirst of the locals.

Congress candidate T.B. Jayachandra has been talking about the work he took up to provide water during 2013-18 as Minister, especially the completion of work on 108 barrages out of 121 in the taluk and the bringing of drinking water from Hemavathi reservoir. He has also said the latter move was opposed by JD(S) leaders.

Picking up the theme of water, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, campaigning in Sira on Friday, countered Mr. Jayachandra, arguing that it was he who released funds to build canals to bring water to the taluk, during his earlier tenure as Chief Minister.

While Hemavathi waters have been diverted to fill the Sira and Kallambella tanks, Madlur tank, in the same series of tanks, is yet to be filled up. Mr. Yediyurappa assured the voters that he would immediately order that the tank be filled up.

Meanwhile, on Friday, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy threatened to take out a padayatra from Sira to Bengaluru if the State government failed to fill 65 tanks in the taluks as promised.

Addressing a rally in Sira, he said that he had approved a ₹850-crore project to tide over the water crisis during 2006, and that the DPR was ready when he stepped down. The project was not taken up by successive governments, he claimed.

He also clarified that 19 tmcft of water to Tumakuru, Kolar, Chickballapur, and Chitradurga was being drawn through the Upper Bhadra project since adequate water was not available in Hemavathi river. This statement gains significance in light of the JD(S) facing flak for allegedly not allowing water supply from Hemavathi river.

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