Mysuru: Amidst protests and counter protests, the ground-breaking ceremony (guddali puja) for the road straightening works on Hunsur Road near Jaladarshini Guest House was performed by leaders cutting across party lines, here this morning.
Despite the stiff opposition from the residents and environmental groups to the Rs. 12 crore project, the might of the State was in ample evidence as the activists who had gathered in advance to protest against the alleged ill-conceived project were shouted down and forced to withdraw from the protest.
Before the guddali puja was performed to the Rs. 12 crore “Improvement to curve in the black spot of NH 275 in front of Jaladarshini Guest House,’ the activists, numbering about 50, sat on chairs holding placards in front of the Jaladarshini Guest House.
As soon as MP Pratap Simha arrived at the spot, the activists started shouting slogans and displaying placards with the slogans like ‘Cut speed not trees,’ ‘Duddu hodayalu sotta dari,’ and said that the Government was violating the environmental law by carrying out the project as the road had been declared as ‘Heritage Road,’ in the MUDA’s Master Plan-2031.
Rebutting their arguments, Simha said, “Just as you people are opposing the project, there are many who want the project. Do you understand the pain of the victims’ families? There are two of them right here who are supporting the project. Do you have any answers for their cry of anguish?”
The activists retorted that the accidents that the MP was talking about occurred either early in the morning around 5 or late in the nights and it was due to rash, negligent and in some cases drunken driving that people had lost their lives and not because of the curve in the road.
However, their arguments did not cut any ice as a few others who supported the project started raising slogans against the activists and even became aggressive.
The Police also asked the activists to move away as they were not given permission to sit inside Jaladarshini Guest House but to stand on the opposite side of the road and hold a silent protest. Instead, they were trying to create a ruckus, which would not be allowed.
The activists, realising that they could not oppose the might of the law, quietly withdrew from the protest. However, one of the protesters, Maj. Gen. S.G. Vombatkere said that they would fight in the court of law by filing a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court.
MGP President S.D. Saokar, Bhamy V. Shenoy, Maj. Gen. S.G. Vombatkere, environmentalists Ravi Kumar, Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, Bapu Satyanarayana, Ashvini Ranjan, Dr. Chandrakanth, Bhanu Mohan, Let’s Do It’s B.S. Prashanth and others participated in the protest.