- People unite to protect the Hill
- Demand to make a Law to protect the Hill
Mysuru: Experts, engineers, environmentalists and special invitees, who attended a meeting organised to discuss conservation of Chamundi Hill, here yesterday, unanimously decided to meet District Minister V. Somanna and Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar with a request to stop construction works atop the hill. The meeting was held at the Institution of Engineers-India (IEI) premises on JLB Road in city.
Members present at the meeting were of the opinion that Chamundi Hill was turning into a concrete jungle with authorities taking up construction works in the name of development. The meeting also came out with the three important decisions, namely:
1. To urge the District Minister and Deputy Commissioner not to implement Central Government sponsored Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme and to stop construction works atop the hill.
2. To declare Chamundi Hill as the Reserve Forest Area by submitting a proposal through Forest Department.
3. To discuss with legal experts about drafting of a Bill to bring in a law to protect the Chamundi Hill area from vandalism and construction of buildings, roads and other so-called developmental works.
The meeting also discussed pros and cons of proposed Ropeway to Chamundi Hill, converting the existing road to 4-lane road, construction of Dasoha Bhavan, Multi-level Parking and other construction work atop the hill and developing Chamundeshwari Temple similar to Kollur and Sringeri under PRASAD scheme.
During the meeting, Institution of Engineers, Technical Committee Advisor M. Lakshmana apprised the members present about alleged encroachment of land surrounding Chamundi Hill by a few spiritual institutions and influential realtors.
Ashvini Ranjan of Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP), stating that there was an increase of commercial establishments atop the hill, demanded that authorities must evict establishments selling toys and other commercial articles while allowing those selling puja items.
District Heritage Committee Member Prof. N.S. Rangaraj citied that there was no need to increase the number of visitors to Chamundi Hill as about one crore visitors, including 80 to 87 lakh tourists, had visited the temple over the past two years. “Authorities must take measures to preserve the bio-diversity atop the hill rather than chalking out plans to increase the number of visitors,” he said and added there was no need for a ropeway atop Chamundi Hill.
MGP Founder-President Bhami V. Shenoy said under the PRASAD scheme, the temples had to be developed in the present state and added the same was not followed in case of Chamundi Hill.
Environmentalist U.S. Ravikumar, enlightening members about flora and fauna, said that there were about 554 species of plants, butterflies, birds and mammals atop the hill and added the Chamundi Hill was also rich in water resource as the ground water level of Mysuru city increases by 30 percent during the rainy season.
However, he expressed his concerns over the depletion of the ground water level in the days to come owing to increase of construction works on the hill.
Ravikumar also mentioned about the inability of Chamundi Hill Gram Panchayat in clearing about 1.5 tonne waste which is generated on daily basis atop the hill.
Maj. Gen. (retd.) S.G. Vombatkere said Mysuru was the cultural capital and known as the Heritage City at the global level. Stating that Chamundi Hill was a gem on top of Mysuru’s crown, he called upon people to unite to save the hill.
Former Mayor B.L. Bhyrappa expressed concern over the blasting of a rock near the 300th step atop the hill to install pipeline to provide drinking water to residents atop the hill.
Stating that blasting would add to the existing problems, Bhyrappa said tourists flock to Mysuru to visit Palace, Chamundi Hill and Zoo but unfortunately authorities are spoiling the beauty of such places.
He also said that MUDA was developing a land opposite the burial ground as a layout which had to be prevented.
Speaking on the occasion, Star of Mysore Editor-in-Chief K.B. Ganapathy said it was not right to blame the officers who simply obey the Ministers and MLAs and added that there was a need to bring an Act that may be called, for example, as Chamundi Hill Conservation Act. Calling upon various NGOs to come out with a draft proposal of the Bill to conserve the hill as a private member’s Bill to be brought to the Assembly.