- Proposed highway to pass through Greater Talacauvery National Park and Reserve Forest
- Kasaragod MP raises question in Lok Sabha; Minister Nitin Gadkari cold-shoulders move
Kushalnagar: A new highway from Kerala to Talacauvery in Kodagu district, the birthplace of River Cauvery, has been proposed by the neighbouring State that will threaten the very existence of the river, the lifeline of people of Kodagu, Mysuru, Mandya and Bengaluru in Karnataka and most of Tamil Nadu.
The proposed road links Madayi Kavu in Kerala and Talacauvery via Pulingome. A question in this regard was raised by Kasaragod MP K.P. Rajmohan Unnithan in Lok Sabha on Dec. 2. The question was directed at Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
As per LS website, the MP asked, “Whether the Govt. has any plans to make the road stretch on Madayi Kavu-Pulingome-Talacauvery usable which passes through the States of Kerala and Karnataka to provide connectivity with Ezhimala Naval Academy and Peringome CRPF Camp. If so, the details thereof.”
An easy route for Kerala
Madayi Kavu is in Kannur district of Kerala and there is a famous Thiruvarkadu Bhagavathi Temple there and the distance to Pulingome is 42 kilometres. At present, to reach Talacauvery, people from Pulingome in Kerala travel over three hours (78 kilometres) via Thayyeni, Paramba, Malom, Kollichal, Balanthode, Panathur, Doddacheri, and Bhagamandala (in Kodagu).
If Madayi Kavu-Pulingome-Talacauvery Highway is constructed, it will be just a short drive from Pulingome via green belt of Talacauvery and this is the reason why the Kasaragod MP wants this to be a reality. At present, there is a mud road here and the forest is a part of Greater Talacauvery National Park.
While raising the issue in Lok Sabha, the Kasaragod MP has cleverly mentioned that the proposed new highway can connect Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala in Kannur district and CRPF Camp at Peringome, also in Kannur district. But he has chosen to hide the fact that if at all the highway is constructed, it will cause irreparable damage to the reserve forests of the Western Ghats.
No such proposal: Minister
However, replying to the MP, Minister Nitin Gadkari has replied, “The Ministry is primarily responsible for development and maintenance of National Highways in the country. The Madayi Kavu-Pulingome-Talacauvery road is not part of the National Highways network. Presently, there is no proposal for the development of the above road stretch under any scheme in the Ministry.”
If at all the Madayi Kavu-Pulingome-Talacauvery highway is sanctioned, it will endanger the birthplace of River Cauvery and it will completely destroy the green belt, said environment groups. At present, there is an uneven mud road filled with boulders between Pulingome and Talacauvery via Mundroot on the Kerala border.
This road existed before the Greater Talacauvery National Park was announced and earlier, jeeps would travel on the road and now, the road is under the control of the Forest Department and any type of vehicle movement is banned here.
Relief to Greens
The Minister’s assurance has come as a relief to environmentalists who are resisting any new roads in the Greater Talacauvery National Park including the proposed road from Patti to Thodikana within the Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary near Talacauvery.
But they have cautioned the elected representatives and people of Karnataka to be wary of the neighbouring State’s designs. Kerala has been demanding the road for years and there was a proposal to lay a gas pipeline through the forests. As the entire green belt comes under the Greater Talacauvery National Park, these projects are not permitted, said green groups.