This is in response to Col. C.P. Muthanna’s letter published in Star of Mysore dated Mar. 13, 2020. Nobody is disputing the approval given by the 37th AGM of Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS) to oppose the proposed Railway project from Mysuru to Kushalnagar.
It is a fact that during my Presidency of CWS, I did not give permission to our advocate to file the PIL against the newly-sanctioned Mysuru-Kushalnagar Railway Line for the simple reason that the Proposed Railway project commencing from Belagola (near Mysuru) traversing through Hunsur and Periyapatna was terminating at a place called Benegal village, around 2 kms before Kushalnagar on the Mysuru district side of the Cauvery River without entering Kodagu district. Naturally, there would be no impact on the eco-system of Kodagu. If so where is the need for filing a PIL?
Since this new proposed Railway project was not even entering Kodagu district and by no stretch of imagination impacted the eco-system of Kodagu and moreover as this project was outside the geographical jurisdiction of CWS, the CWS has no business to deprive the people of Periyapatna and Hunsur Taluks the benefit of Railway connectivity. These were the main reasons for my opposition to filing the second PIL by CWS.
Let me make it very clear now that in any case the first PIL filed by the CWS was against the proposed Railway Line, at the instance of Kerala, between Thalassery (Kerala) and Mysuru via Kutta in South Kodagu.
The avowed stand of CWS had always been to oppose tooth and nail any Railway project and also any four-laning of the National Highway inside Kodagu district either through influencing the policy-makers in the Government or seeking remedy through judicial intervention.
It is also a fact that the AGM of CWS held on 27.12.2019 approved the payment of Rs. 90,000 towards lawyer’s fees on the PIL filed by Col. Muthanna despite written objection by our auditors BAL & Bhimeshwar, Madikeri. The auditors clearly stated that CWS cannot pay the lawyer’s fees of a PIL filed by a third party as it is against accounting systems and financial norms.
Therefore, the approval given by the AGM to pay Rs. 90,000 as lawyer’s fees to Col. Muthanna was a malafide act which can be challenged in a court of law, but let it be.
The PIL filed by Col. Muthanna was disposed of by the High Court saying that the Railways had not yet obtained necessary clearances from appropriate authorities and they can approach the court as and when the Railways obtain the requisite clearances.
For the information of the general public, there is no sanction for the Madikeri-Makkandur Railway project as of now and as a matter of interest there was a proposal for a Railway Line from Mysuru to Kodagu during 1920 under the British rule and it is impossible to get environmental clearance from the Union Government and the National Green Tribunal. One can conveniently forget about this non-existent project!
Finally, nobody is disputing Col. Muthanna’s sincere efforts in protecting the fragile eco-system of Kodagu.
– K.C. Biddappa, Past President, Coorg Wildlife Society, Mysuru , 14.3.2020
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