Four-Lane Mysuru-Kushalnagar Expressway: Ex-Servicemen urge PM Modi to save their Kodagu homeland
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Four-Lane Mysuru-Kushalnagar Expressway: Ex-Servicemen urge PM Modi to save their Kodagu homeland

March 11, 2023

Mysore/Mysuru: With just hours to go for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the Access-Controlled Four-Lane Expressway between Mysuru and Kushalnagar, the Kodagu Ex-Service Personnel Association has raised an objection to it and urged the PM to shelve the project and help them protect their homeland from destruction.

Addressing a press conference at Pathrakarthara Bhavan in the city this morning, Col. C.P. Muthanna, former President of Coorg Wildlife Society and a member of Kodagu Ex-Service Personnel Association said that it was with great concern they are raising the banner of non-political protest against the destruction of their homeland, a place that has given stalwarts to Indian Defence like Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, Gen. K.S. Thimayya, Sqn.Ldr. Ajjamada B. Devaiah and Col. P.S. Ganapathy and many others.

Col. Muthanna was accompanied by Col. (Retd.) P.S. Gokula, Col. (Retd.) M.K. Belliappa, and Col. (Retd.) C.P. Medappa. “Though the tiny district of Kodagu has contributed hundreds of officers who have reached the top commands of the Army, Navy and Air Force and hundreds of officers and thousands of soldiers still serving the Indian Defence Forces, their homeland of Kodagu continues to be systematically destroyed by a series of development projects and conversion of agriculture and plantation lands for commercial purposes,” Col. Muthanna said.

Their main grouse is the 92.3 km road between Paschimavahini near Srirangapatna and Guddehosur near Kushalnagar that is being built parallel to the Mysuru – Kushalnagar section of the National Highway (NH-275) at a cost of Rs. 3,560 crore to join the 10-lane Expressway between Mysuru and Bengaluru.

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Kodagu Ex-Service Personnel Association has also written to the Prime Minister’s Office, Office of the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha and has attached a copy of the report submitted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru, on the ‘Environment impact assessment of the proposed linear projects in Kodagu district’.

IISc. report warns against projects

The IISc. report has warned the State and Centre not to meddle with the fragile ecosystem of Kodagu by implementing road and highway infrastructure and tourism projects that will ultimately prove destructive and counterproductive.

“The scientific study mentions that Kodagu is a hotspot of biodiversity that is rich in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and landslides and floods have occurred due to activities including rampant tree cutting and commercialisation. Undertaking major infrastructure projects in Kodagu is inadvisable as even small disturbances could be catastrophic and will dry up the water source of River Cauvery,” Col. Muthanna said and regretted that highway planners were ignoring the scientific report.

The new highway will increase human-elephant conflict and even the IISc. scientists are against any sort of development projects in Kodagu, he said. “Mindless development has destroyed Ooty and Goa and now Kodagu is being victimised. We spoke to MP Pratap Simha, who is bent on bringing the Expressway and Railway to Kodagu to promote the cash crops like coffee and promote tourism. But already Kodagu is full of tourists and there has been a huge influx of migrants. Such projects will lead to further saturation of space and will destroy River Cauvery,” he observed.

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The Association has appealed to the Prime Minister not to initiate the Expressway project at the cost of the environment and save the homeland of thousands of Defence personnel who have served, still serving and those who have laid down their lives for the cause of the nation.

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