Development of Chamundi Hill under PRASHAD scheme: ‘Seek Heritage Panel’s nod before executing project’
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Development of Chamundi Hill under PRASHAD scheme: ‘Seek Heritage Panel’s nod before executing project’

January 20, 2023

Citizen activists to meet Deputy Commissioner, the Head of District Heritage Committee, on Jan. 25

Mysore/Mysuru: Taking further their preliminary meeting to decide the future course of action against the proposed development project of Chamundi Hill under the Centre’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) scheme, citizen activists, Chamundi Betta Ulisi Samithi and Parisara Balaga activists have decided to meet Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr. K.V. Rajendra on Jan. 25. The aim of the meeting is to get a clear-cut idea about the proposed development project at an estimated cost of Rs. 48.3 crore to provide additional facilities for tourists. At a meeting convened at Cheluvamba Park in the city yesterday, the activists decided on meeting the DC to ascertain the impact of the proposed projects on the environment, biodiversity and the threat to lung space.

Unilateral decisions

Alleging that the elected representatives and the officers are taking unilateral decisions on the development of the Chamundi Hill, the participants resolved to fight unitedly under the banner of Chamundi Betta Ulisi Samithi. They decried the lack of accountability when it came to Chamundi Hill where stakeholders are sidelined and pertinent issues like environment and biodiversity brushed under the carpet. 

The meeting resolved to press for project clearance from the District Heritage Committee as the Chamundi Hill, the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and the surrounding ancient structures  and temples are all integral part of Mysuru’s heritage. The next course of action will be decided after getting the complete project information, its pros and cons and environment impact.

Sketchy project info

At present, the project information is sketchy and trickling in bits and pieces with no concrete information on the overall project. “We will convey our apprehensions and fears to the DC, who is the Head of the District Heritage Committee, and we will insist on the approval by the Heritage Committee before any development project is taken up atop the Chamundi Hill which has already been a victim of unbridled development,” said Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, retired Professor from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, who is also a Member of Heritage Conservation Committee, Government of Karnataka.

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“TVS has come forward to restore the dilapidated government school atop Chamundi Hill and has sought the approval of the District Heritage Committee. We are happy that our public movement has at least resulted in this change where the approval of the Heritage Committee is sought before development,” Prof. Rangaraju added.

Citizens kept in the dark

Noted water conservationist and an advocate of alternative technologies U.N. Ravikumar said that though the taxpayers’ money is being spent on developing the Chamundi Hill, the citizens are kept in the dark about the project. “We must demand greater consultation as the Chamundi Hill and its biodiversity are crucial for the survival of Mysuru. It is the city’s natural and heritage asset. Given the environmental sensitivity, the focus should be on conservation,” he said.

Ravikumar added that in fact, the Government must take up projects that complement the ecology and biodiversity. “Unfortunately, all the development works that have already been undertaken atop the Hill like the multi-level parking lot and others are against biodiversity and have caused great harm to the unique flora and fauna. The Government must encourage public transport to the Hill and ban private vehicles,” he added.

Suggesting to make Chamundi Hill a carbon-neutral area by 2030 by utilising solar technology and earmarking a buffer zone around the foothill, Ravikumar said that the Chamundi Hill has already exceeded its carrying capacity and this is evident due to a series of landslides.

Chamundi Hill Development Authority

Founder President of Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) Bhamy V. Shenoy reiterated the demand for the constitution of Chamundi Hill Development Authority to regulate unrestricted growth and exploitation that is against the environment. “Elected representatives give public statements to suit their agenda and as a result, most part of the Chamundi Hill is destroyed. It is important to create public awareness about the systematic destruction,” he added.

READ ALSO  Entry of devotees to Chamundi Hill Temple banned

It may be mentioned that a Draft Bill for constituting a Chamundi Hill Development Authority, as an autonomous body, has already been drafted by concerned citizens of Mysuru and given to the Department concerned in Vidhana Soudha for taking it forward.

Maj. Gen. (Retd.) S.G. Vombatkere said that as PRASHAD is a Centre’s project, it is difficult to oppose it. “We need to extensively use social media influencers and celebrities to the cause of saving Chamundi Hill. Also, information posters, easily comprehensible bullet point pamphlets must be published and circulated. There is no use in protesting once the works begin and are under progress,” he said.

Chamundi Betta Ulisi Samithi Convenor Parashurame Gowda, members of Parisara Balaga and other organisations were present at the meeting.

NOTE: When the question of the ownership of the Devikere and (some say) even the temple and the adjacent properties are claimed to be the properties of the Royal family, one is left perplexed at the attempt to implement PRASHAD scheme, leave alone the demand of the ‘Heritage Panel’ to be consulted for executing the project atop the Hill. — ED

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Introduction of electric buses to Chamundi Hill and banning private vehicles. Only public transport must be allowed
  • Harnessing of solar energy to all parts of the Hill
  • Intensifying protests, Satyagraha and public campaigns
  • Involving social media influencers to oppose the Chamundi Hill development
  • Insisting on Heritage Committee approval before PRASHAD scheme is implemented
  • Pursue legal fight against PRASHAD scheme
  • Publicising the environment degradation aspect of PRASHAD scheme
  • Insist on vacating all illegal shops around Thavarekatte area
  • Fight against any development at Parks and green spaces
  • Insist on the effective implementation of Karnataka Parks, Play-Field and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act, 1985

8 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Development of Chamundi Hill under PRASHAD scheme: ‘Seek Heritage Panel’s nod before executing project’”

  1. Raghu C says:

    Oppose EVERYTHING….whatever it may be.
    Don’t know how these handful of people think they represent the people of Mysuru….seriously it’s funny. Hope the government shows the right place these gangs.

  2. Raampur Ka Laxman!! says:

    Heritage Panel?
    This Panel consists of the worthless MGP, ridiculed as the Grahachara Parishad, packed with people like BARMY SHENOY and . VOMBATKERE , who themselves triggered the destruction of Mysore city and the Hill, when they en masse arrived to settle in Mysore in 1980s. They were not Mysoreans, but outright foreigners. This influx whichj had BARMY SHENOY and . VOMBATKERE , among with hundreds of thousands of them in 1980s, meant that forest around Mysore was cleared to make plots for houses for them, extending Mysore to Banni Mantap, and the Chamundi Hill base which occupied acres of green fields were cleared to create plots for houses for them. They all bought cars, and wonderfully had trips up the Hill through the Hill Road, stressing geology structure of the Hill .
    These scoundrels are howling them for ecology protection and the Hill! Load of hypocrites.
    Politicians and the government ministers know that they have to earn cash for their pockets, hence the Hill developments for tourism.
    This DC is hence helpless and will follow whatever the ministers say.

  3. Sanjay Kini says:

    People talk about developing Tourism at Chamundi Hills which is called Religious Tourism or Devotees visiting Temples which ever Terminology they may use , but even when Tourism is being developed i request the government to follow the UNWTO(United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s) Sustainable Development Goals or SDG’s which includes protection of Cities, Communities and Environment. The Environmentalists who are against tourism can show this article to the DC and request the government to develop Chamundi Hills keeping these Goals in mind.Then i think it will be both helpful for the Environmentalist and Tourism Industry.
    UNWTO sustainable Developmental Goals Please read it here : https://www.unwto.org/tourism4sdgs

  4. Gautam says:

    @Sanjay Kini
    There is nothing like sustainable development for tourism. Do not play with jargons.
    As for the |UN, it is one massive talk shop
    The only way , this Chamundi Hill can be saved, if it is not too late, is to ban ALL vehicles of all people-=no distinction should be made for VVIPs or VIPs-all have to take to steps to reach the top of the Hill. These VVIPs and VIPs, like that Tribal woman who is the president , the bearded PM, and the moustached CM, all need to walk up through the steps. Also, a maximum number of steps users per day must be enforced, and only those who have got tickets to use the steps , obtained on line by payment of a fee, should be allowed to use the steps.
    Short of the above, this Hill will crumble into a mass of stones and mud within years.

  5. Ajjampur Vijayakumar says:

    Shenoy is just an arm-chaired environmentalist, trying to get noticed. The poor guy cannot live quietly in his ripe old age!
    Obviously, he is very disappointed that he is not being recognised for his supposed contributions, focused on the outfit he calls the MGP, full of retirees. I suspect, he wants a Rajyotsava Award or a Padma award at the higher category.
    As for this heritage and environment preservation in respect of Chamundi Hill, the government thinks that tourism and heritage preservation with developments up the Hill-they argue will help the worshippers.
    Instead of this futile attempt, Shenoy should work with the Mayoreal team, the MLAs and MP, and engage with the CM and the government.
    He could visit here, New Delhi, to meet the central ministers, particularly those linked to Karnataka.
    But, typical Shenoy, he wants all the glory and all the credits to himself!

  6. Ajjampur Vijayakumar says:

    Shenoy is just an arm-chaired environmentalist, trying to get noticed. The poor guy cannot live quietly in his ripe old age!
    Obviously, he is very disappointed that he is not being recognised for his supposed contributions, focused on the outfit he calls the MGP, full of retirees. I suspect, he wants a Rajyotsava Award or a Padma award at the higher category.
    As for this heritage and environment preservation in respect of Chamundi Hill, the government thinks that tourism and heritage preservation with developments up the Hill-they argue will help the worshippers.
    Instead of this futile attempt, Shenoy should work with the Mayoreal team, the MLAs and MP, and engage with the CM and the government.
    He could visit here, New Delhi, to meet the central ministers, particularly those linked to Karnataka.
    But, typical Shenoy, he wants all the glory and all the credits to himself!

  7. Santhosh says:

    Posting my earlier comment again.
    Chamundi Hill, Male Mahadeshwara Hill and Bili Giri Ranga Hill – all three hills should should follow Himavad Gopalaswamy Hill model. There should be only the temples atop the hill. No other structures should be allowed. Visitors should use public vehicle to reach the temple. Visitors should have the darshan and return back. No other activities should be allowed on the hill. These hills not some rocky terrain. They are like mini forest consisting of large vegetation and different species of birds and animals. If human activities are allowed unchecked, these hills will surely be destroyed.

  8. Ajay says:

    @ Raghu C
    Agree that opposing every development work is not the right way forward for a developing country like India. However, in case of Chamundi Hill, there must be a through scrutiny of any development work that is taken taken up here. Just have a look at the picture of Chamundi Hill in this article. So much construction has taken place on the hill. In fact, I feel it is an old pic and the current situation is much worse than this. As the previous poster mentioned, if Himavad Golpalswamy Hill can be preserved in pristine condition then why not Chamundi Hill. I have visited Gopalaswamy Hill a couple of time and I have seen the difference. The surrounding area around the Gopalaswamy Temple is so peaceful and serene.

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