‘Save Kodagu, Save Cauvery’ Rally In Madikeri On Dec.8

Dec 6, 2018

Protest is against widening of NH-275, Railway lines which will account for felling of nearly 4 lakh trees

Mysuru: Environmentalists and natives of Kodagu, who are based in Bengaluru and Mysuru, are set to join a massive protest under ‘Save Kodagu, Save Cauvery’ banner on Dec.8. The protest will be held at Gandhi Maidan in Madikeri against the proposed expansion of National Highway 275 (Bengaluru-Bantwal).

The project aims to turn 60 kms of the Highway between Kushalnagar, Madikeri and Sampaje to four lanes. Expansion of this eco-sensitive stretch is vehemently opposed by organisations of Kodagu Maraka Yojane Virodhi Vedike, United Kodava Organisation, Cauvery Sene and Coorg Wildlife Society.

They argue that the region, which is still recovering from the devastating floods and landslides in August this year, will be further ill-prepared for such rains if further green cover is lost. Objections have also been raised on the ground if there is even a need for expanding the Highways, as it sees congestion only during weekends and   holiday season.

Addressing a press conference at Pathrakartara Bhavan in city yesterday, President of Coorg Wildlife Society, Colonel (retired) C.P. Muthanna, who is also the Coordinator of Save Kodagu and Cauvery Campaign, said, “This protest is not only important for the people of Kodagu but also for Bengaluru and other lower riparian areas. Including this project, there are four National Highways (NHs), two railway lines that have been planned in the region. If all these go according to plan,  then around four lakh trees have to be cut.”

Rampant land conversion

“Already 50,000 trees have been lost due to Mysuru- Kozhikode power line and there is an increased conversion of land that is taking place. Around 2,800 acres of land have been converted between 2005 and 2018. Thousands of people had become homeless after nature’s fury paralysed life in Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks due to these rampant land conversions where mountains were carved to make space for development,” he said.  

The rally is being organised under the banner of Kodagu Maraka Yojane Virodhi Vedike as the implementation of these projects would cause serious ecological damages and destroy pristine green cover in the district, he added.

 

Both the Highways and the proposed railway lines will destroy Kodagu and people must fight against these projects tooth and nail. The rally on Dec.8 will begin from General Thimmaiah Grounds (Mann’s Compound) and end at Gandhi   Maidan, he said.

“The proposed four-lane Highway, connecting the international airport at Mattanur in Kerala and likely to pass through the district, would be disastrous for the people and the district. People of Kodagu would lose a great deal if the Highway was widened, including vast greenery,” he said.

Several stakeholders and residents of Kodagu are participating in the protest. Many organisations are opposing the project and have already conveyed to the Government that the Highway expansion was not needed as the existing road is wide enough to support future traffic growth, he said.

He came down heavily on Central and State Governments for allocating Rs.10,000 crore for these projects when they failed to rehabilitate the people of Kodagu affected in the recent landslides.   

Massive loss of green cover

Widening the road will damage thousands of commercial and residential properties in Kushalnagar, Suntikoppa and Madikeri. Even if the Highway is made to bypass some of the cities and towns, there will be a massive loss of green cover in this region of Kodagu that forms the catchment of River Cauvery, he said.

Apart from increasing man-elephant conflict due to the depletion of green cover, the project will result in rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation and will ultimately result in the areas going dry without rainfall. This will lead to drying up of already weakened River Cauvery, he cautioned.

Threat to River Cauvery

Widening of NH-275 will make the present green terrain barren and this will lead to more landslides and will threaten the very existence of River Cauvery as thousands of trees will be felled in the river catchment area. The current traffic density of 2,500 to 3,000 vehicles per day does not warrant four-lane conversion of the existing two-lane Highway, he stated

“As per regulations of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Highways are constructed when the traffic density exceeds 10,000 vehicles per day. However, the existing vehicle density is nowhere near this figure in the Kushalnagar-Madikeri section. This is a scam project driven by vested interests,” Col. Muthanna alleged.

Source: Star of Mysore