Mysore/Mysuru: Chamundi Betta Ulisi Samiti (Save Chamundi Hill Committee) has decided to launch a series of protests condemning the ongoing development works under Central Government’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation (PRASHAD) Scheme at Chamundi Hill in the city.
This follows a meeting of environmentalists held at the Institution of Engineers-India (IEI) premises in city on Tuesday.
Addressing media persons this morning, Parashuramegowda of the Samiti, accompanied by environmentalist U.N. Ravikumar and Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, a member of Heritage Conservation Committee, Government of Karnataka, strongly criticised the unprecedented works taken up at the Hill in the name of development that will damage the religious sanctity of the shrine.
Parashuramegowda said, “It has been decided to launch a series of protests under the slogan Bettavanna Bettavagi Ulisi (Retain Chamundi Hill as Hill). The detailed schedule of the protest will be announced soon.”
Reiterating that Chamundi Hill is like the ‘Crown of Mysuru’, the environmentalists said “in the recent Signature Campaign, 50,000 signatures were collected with the green-lovers venting their anguish against any initiatives that mar the natural beauty of the Hill. But our opposition to development should not be misconstrued as anti-development. All we want is to maintain the Hill in its natural form for posterity.”
With every passing day, there is an increase in pressure on the Hill with surge in tourists and vehicle movement. But more green enrichment initiatives have to be taken up against ‘concretisation works.’ There shouldn’t be any recurrence in the incidents of landslides like it happened in the case of Nandi Statue road atop the Hill. Or else, the chances of landslides in other sides of the shrine cannot be ignored.
Earlier, the basic amenities at the Hill were in accordance to the local populace. The unabated development works will harm the natural formation. “Chamundi Hill should remain as a Religious Centre than becoming a Tourist Hub. We have been making consistent efforts to create awareness among the elected representatives too, in this regard,” they added.
Making a fervent appeal to Mysureans to join hands with their struggle, the environmentalists also clarified that their initiatives will not pose any threat to residents of the Hill. Instead of development works, more emphasis should be on conserving ecological diversity.
The development on the lines of Hampi in Vijayanagar district and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh should be curtailed. Instead, private vehicles to the Hill should be banned on the model of Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta in Gundlupet taluk of Chamarajanagar district, they demanded.
‘Devikere works unscientific’
Environmentalist U.N. Ravikumar has termed the development works of Devikere at Chamundi Hill (which has been stopped for now) as unscientific. He told media persons this morning that “the development works of Devikere cannot be called as ‘real’. The water body is being given a touch of modernity by laying tiles. The works are unscientific as they have been taken up without discussing with any experts. Such works will harm the safety of the Hill.”