Kodagu MLAs unhappy with Defence Minister’s attitude

 Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in discussion with Air Marshal Nanda Cariappa (retd.) and ‘The Field Marshal Cariappa General Thimayya Forum’ President Col. Kadrathanda C. Subbaiah (right) at Madikeri.

Talking to Retd. Army Officers on environment instead of discussing devastation

Madikeri: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the flood-affected Kodagu District recently and held a meeting with the environmentalists. However, this meeting led to a confrontation between her and the people’s representatives including District in-Charge Minister S.R. Mahesh, Legislators K.G. Bopaiah, Appachu Ranjan and  Sunil Subramani.

Nirmala Sitharaman who came to the Deputy Commissioner’s Office first met the retired Army Officers that included Air Marshal Kodandera Nanda Cariappa (Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa’s son), ‘The Field Marshal Cariappa General Thimayya Forum’ President Colonel Kadrathanda C. Subbaiah, Convenor Major Biddanda Nanda Nanjappa, Major Odiyanda S. Chingappa, Group Captain Shubji, Major General Somayanda K. Cariappa, Colonel Patrapanda S. Mutthanna and others.

The elected representatives Bopaiah,  Appachu Ranjan, Sunil Subramani, Zilla Panchayat President B.A. Harish, former President Ravi Kushalappa and BJP State Secretary Manumuthappa expressed their displeasure after seeing the retired Army Officers who had come to meet the Defence Minister and urge her to implement the Dr. Kasturirangan report on conserving the Western Ghats of Kodagu.

However, amidst this confusion, Nirmala Sitaraman continued to engage herself in a deep discussion with the environmentalists. This further upset the elected representatives. The District in-Charge Minister S.R. Mahesh, who also came at the same time, also expressed his displeasure regarding the meeting of the Defence Minister with the environmentalists.

When the Minister and the Legislators demanded that Nirmala Sitharaman should immediately come to the officials’ meeting or else they would boycott it, MP Pratap Simha who was present was in turmoil. He told the Minster that the Legislators were waiting, she took umbrage and said that it was her duty to listen to the Retired Army Officers too.

After discussions with the Retired Army Officers, the Defence Minister got ready to meet the Army Men present there. At the moment, District in-Charge Minister Mahesh humbly told her that the officials had been waiting for a long time and she should first come to their meeting.

A completely upset Nirmala Sitharaman said, “I am following the schedule. You have a list of minute-to-minute for me to follow. Then I will do it as per your schedule.”

Meanwhile, the elected representatives wondered why she had skipped the meeting of the relief work undertaken by the officials and came to the one with the environmentalists.

Bopaiah at this time retorted, “You do as you please.” The Defence Minister almost rebuking him said, “I am the Central Defence Minister. You want me to listen to what you say. Come let us hold the meeting then.”

Completely upset with the turn of events, she even looked indifferently at the power point presentation made by Kodagu Deputy Commissioner P.I. Sreevidya. At one stage when the question arose as to   who has to speak first, she told the District in-Charge Minister in an angry tone, “You first decide among yourself who should speak first after sorting out the differences.”

Nirmala Sitharaman, who did not speak much, ended the meeting in a huff.

By Prasad Sampigekatte, Madikeri

View Comments (6)

  • Whether corrupt MLAs are happy with an honest defense minister of the other party ! Obviously Congress and Jds can’t e happy! What is more important is whether the people who elected them are happy about their choice!

    • Why should she be sacked? Read the article properly. The District Administration of Kodagu had the program list. In that list there was a program of meeting the Ex Service Men (Rtd. Military Officers) of Kodagu. In the Retired Military Officers, Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa (Son of Field Marshal. General K.M.Cariappa) and other important military officers were to meet with the Defence Minister. The retired military officers wanted to discuss the Kasturi Rangan Committee Report where in it had said that the Western Ghats were Ecologically Sensitive Zones and that no developmental activities should be taken in certain areas identified as Ecologically Sensitive Zones. They wanted the Kasturi Rangan Report to be implemented in order to save the Western Ghats from natural disasters, which were happening due to large scale Deforestation by the timber mafia. In the name of development, destruction of forests is Not a good thing. Already more than 54,000 trees were cut down in Kodagu to make way for a High Tension Wire or High Tension Power Line to Kerala, though they could have taken it through other alternate routes. The High Tension Electricity Line passed through very thick forests of South Kodagu. In fact Kodagu, or neither Karnataka has benefitted in this. Only Kerala benefitted in this. Again there was a proposal for a Railway Route from Kerala's Thalassery to Karnataka's Mysore via the same route, where in 54,000 trees had already been cut down despite strong protests from the people of Kodagu. Again if the Railway Route comes, then again lakhs of trees will be cut down in South Kodagu. For a small district like Kodagu, it is enough if they provide basic infrastructure like good roads, drinking water facilities etc. Trees are being cut down to make way for Resorts and Home Stays, Layouts etc.

      • That was not the time to ask such things. She came to assess the damage and talk to the people who were affected. That is what the plan. Those retired army people should know that and could have made an appointment another day. I have respect for army people, but given the seriousness, they should have realized.