14 century-old trees to be axed for Chunchanakatte Jalapathotsava
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14 century-old trees to be axed for Chunchanakatte Jalapathotsava

August 21, 2019

Mysuru: This year’s annual Jalapathotsava at the scenic Chunchanakatte Falls in Mysuru District will be at a cost of 14 giant trees that are destined to be chopped off to make way for tourists. This move has, however, not gone down well with the villagers who are opposing the tree-felling. 

Also called Dhanushkoti waterfall, the splendid water cascade is located at Chunchanakatte village near K.R. Nagar and it is around 55 kms from Mysuru. The falls was in news recently when it flowed in full splendour, thanks to copious rains and thousands of cusecs of Cauvery water that was released from Harangi Dam in Kodagu. 

At Dhanushkoti, before the water reaches KRS, water falls from a height of more than 60 feet like milk foam and it attracts tourists in hordes.  To make the falls more attractive and to draw more and more tourists, the Tourism Department organises Jalapathotsava every year. 

Last year, the two-day event, with illuminated surroundings and cultural programmes, was held on Aug. 11 and 12 and had attracted many tourists who witnessed the spectacle in all its glory. This year, the Jalapathotsava will be held on Sept. 5 and the Forest Department and the Public Works Department (PWD) have decided to widen the road that leads to the waterfalls. 

And for this, 14 fully grown trees will be chopped on both sides of the road. An auction notice was issued recently and the bidding for the trees was also held. The auction notice was served to the Chunchanakatte Gram Panchayat and over 33 persons paid the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) of Rs. 5,000 each. 

READ ALSO  ‘Jalapathotsava’ at Chunchanakatte from Aug. 11

In all, 13 persons succeeded in the bid and the total bid amount was estimated at Rs. 3,25,000. The estimate will increase when the final bid is awarded as the trees are fully grown. There are different varieties of trees including Rain Tree, Mango, Banyan and Peltophorum. 

File photo of last year’s Chunchanakatte Jalapathotsava.

The PWD and Forest officials have been directed to complete the road widening at least a week before Jalapathotsava. The tree cutting move has, however, been criticised by the villagers. They have questioned the necessity of eliminating the green cover for the sake of tourism. 

“These trees have grown over the last 100 years and I have been seeing them since my childhood. I don’t understand the logic of cutting these age-old trees just for a few hours of the Jalapathotsava,” said Ramappa, a villager. Actually, the Forest Department has the responsibility of increasing the green cover and here unfortunately they are doing the opposite, he added. 

K.R. Nagar Range Forest Officer Kumar has clarified that many saplings will be planted after the road widening works. “Yes, we have to cut the trees for development. Later, we will plant saplings in the surroundings and will compensate for the greenery loss,” he added.

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