Mandya: Farmers of Mandya and surrounding places are teaming up for another mass agitation — to save Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Reservoir, their lifeline. They are up in arms against the proposed Disneyland mega project, giant statue of Mother Cauvery and also the rampant mining in and around the Dam.
Under the banner “Save Cauvery” and “Save KRS”, the farmers led by farmer leader and former MP G. Madegowda are all set to launch a mass agitation similar to Cauvery protests in the early 90s. At a meeting held at Gandhi Bhavan in Mandya yesterday, farmers and Madegowda expressed their anguish over the State Government’s plan to spend over Rs. 2,000 crore to build a Disneyland-like Amusement Park in over 400 acres of land at the Northern side of the KRS Dam.
Launching a tirade against the Government, Madegowda warned that a relentless agitation would be launched if the Disneyland plan was not dropped and if no concrete steps are taken against illegal mining and construction.
“All activities including building a 125-feet-tall Cauvery statue and Disneyland Theme Park will endanger the safety of the Reservoir and should be dealt with seriousness. The Government’s move to take up building activities near the Reservoir would only weaken the Dam and nothing else,” he said.
“The Government must wake up and ban illegal mining which is posing a threat to KRS. Instead of strengthening the Dam, the government wants to take up construction works around it,” Madegowda said and added, “Farmers must unite and stand against the government’s decision. We hope that the Government remembers the Cauvery agitation in the early 90s.”
Addressing the meeting, Raitha Sangha leader Badagalapura Nagendra said that to build a 125-feet tall statue, 125-feet ground must be bored and filtered and this has to be done with heavy equipment.
“Drilling a hole that deep will cause the Dam structure to vibrate. Also, miners and quarry owners blast stones with dynamites at Baby Betta and surrounding areas that goes up to 225 feet under the earth. All these are threatening the existence of KRS,” he said.
According to Raitha Sangha leader A.L. Kempoogowda, around 48 registered stone extraction units have been operating in the 20-km radius of the reservoir, apart from a good number of illegal quarrying units. “There were around 23 lakes in Baby Betta region before the mining menace hit the region. Now there is not a single lake here,” he said.
Farmers alleged that some Ministers were trying to loot the State exchequer on the pretext of a Disneyland Theme Park and are pushing for such building activities only to help the illegal mining mafia.
Farmer leader Shambunahalli Suresh said that the proposed Disneyland project was an attempt to divert the attention of the farmers to safeguard the interests of those indulging in illegal stone extraction.
Disneyland not at KRS
The Mysuru Travels Association has welcomed the idea of Disneyland but not at KRS and the fertile land surrounding it. Speaking to Star of Mysore, Association President B.S. Prashanth said, “KRS has a massive tourist inflow and can be made to attract more tourists. However, converting KRS into Disneyland as a major attraction would take out the value that KRS has to offer, which is a pillar of contribution by the Wadiyars of Mysuru,” he said.
“Disneyland must be developed at another location that does not require taking away lands from farmers and killing the ecological balance. Tourists can be attracted there and it can also be marketed as an additional place of visit, thereby retaining more tourists in Mysuru and contributing to its all-round development,” he added.