Yesterday I was out of Mysuru leaving the city early morning and returning late night. As is my wont, I picked up Star of Mysore before hitting the sack. What a good news! ‘Train via Kodagu scrapped’. The sub-title said that the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal would make an official announcement in Parliament today (7.3.2018).
Our readers would remember the huge protest rally, numbering over 10,000, with the people of Kodagu, Mysuru, Mandya and a few from even Kannur, Kerala, taking part in it on 18.2.2018.
The initiative came from the Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS) supported by other NGOs. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka High Court too was thought of and the advocate was paid an advance.
The Mysuru citizens, responding to an appeal in this newspaper, had donated over Rs. 10 lakh while in Kodagu itself a similar amount was raised. It was decided to take a delegation to Delhi to meet Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Unfortunately, most of us are tomorrow’s men; so the CWS was immersed in a state of euphoria about the success of its protest march in Mysuru on 18.2.2018. This, apparently, led to the postponing of the idea of going to Delhi. It did not realise the Court should be the last resort after exhausting all avenues for relief. Let it be.
However, the good news is that another NGO, Wildlife First, has stolen the thunder from the organisers of the great protest march by rushing to Delhi and handing over a memorandum of protest to the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. The four magnificent men who met the Union Minister at New Delhi on 5.3.2018 were former Range Forest Officer K.M. Chinnappa, the member of Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga Thamoo Poovaiah, members of the NGO Wildlife First H.N.A. Prasad and Praveen Bhargav.
And lo and behold, they have succeeded in getting the “word of honour” from the Minister that this train line via South Kodagu, the pride of the Western Ghat with rain forests, is scrapped, putting an end to Kerala’s efforts to have this Railway line since 1962!
Small wonder Karnataka was sleeping all these years or was Karnataka conniving with the timber lobby and train lobby of Kerala? This evil project must have got a hard push this time because there are three Keralites (Malayalis) in Karnataka politics. One is a powerful Minister, another an MLA making news for wrong reasons and another an MLC.
Anyway, a million thanks to Wildlife First which took the Kerala and Karnataka train bulls by the horn and crushed it, at least, for now. But we must remain henceforth eternally vigilant.
Kodagu, bordering Kerala, is a part of Karnataka now. If Karnataka does not take care of Kodagu, it will soon become like Kasaragod in Dakshina Kannada, a part of Kerala. People of Kodagu alone cannot fight for its safety and identity. Karnataka Government has a responsibility unless its politicians are myopic or they have a different agenda. Did you get me Steve?
Now let me turn to another news relating to Railways that happened in Mysuru. On 4.3.2018, about 200 truckers took their trucks to the Railway Yard road (Dargha Road)in Bannimantap and protested against the Railway authorities for blocking the most important road from the Railway Yard towards the Ring Road for a length of 2 kms on the ground of safety issue.
The Railways were behind the inconvenience caused to the public as a result — like elephants, tigers and cheetahs entering the cities and towns. Because of this blockade, the trucks and heavy vehicles took a different route to the Ring Road via the city causing traffic jam chock-a-block on Jodi Thenginamara Road (J.T. Road) of Bannimantap. This important arterial city road is used by residents, students of JSS Medical College and other office-goers.
This ‘wanton blockage’ by the Railways remained without relief for the last few years despite honest efforts by Tanveer Sait, local MLA and now Minister, the man who had taken the trouble to make this road motorable with great difficulty for the convenience of the people of Mysuru. But see how insensitive the Railways are. Blindly talking of imaginary safety — officials doing their work in a manner of ‘makki ka makki’, least bothered about the people who need that road.
Consider this: Crores of rupees spent on this road, even breaking part of the mountain, will now lay waste because of some hot-headed blinkered officials of the Railways.
My advice: Go to Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister and you will get the relief.
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