Coorg Wildlife Society President writes to Kodagu Deputy Commissioner highlighting destructive nature of the Project
Mysuru: Continuing his efforts to stall the proposed widening of National Highway (NH) 275, Coorg Wildlife Society President K.C. Biddappa has written a letter to Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu opposing the project as it will bring untold miseries to the people of Kodagu.
The State Government has proposed to widen NH-275 between Kushalnagar, Madikeri and Sampaje. The project will destroy the green environs in a land that extends up to over 60 kms.
Highlighting the ill-effects of widening the National Highway- 275, Biddappa has stated that already the hilly terrain of Kodagu is collapsing on the existing Highways and many roads have cracked unable to withstand the pressure of rain. “The present situation is the result of mindless development initiated by land mafias who carved Hills to construct buildings and cut thousands of trees in the process. The District cannot take anymore development and destruction in the name of development,” he stated in his letter.
In the letter, Biddappa has stated that as per norms, widening of a particular road is necessitated only when the traffic density of that particular road increases. But in the case of NH-275 from Kushalnagar to Sampaje, the vehicle density is high only during weekends and holidays and this is due to the heavy influx of tourists.
Widening the road will damage thousands of commercial and residential properties in Kushalnagar, Suntikoppa and Madikeri. Even if the Highway is made to bypass some of the cities and towns, there will be a massive loss of green cover in this region of Kodagu that forms the catchment of River Cauvery, he stated.
The same NH-275 during August last year, experienced disastrous landslides from hillocks abutting the road near Jodupala. Small hills adjacent to the Highway simply slid down hundreds of meters to the valley below without leaving any trace of the existence of a Highway.
The NH-275 developed massive cracks on the road in many places forcing the District Administration to ban vehicular movement for two months last year and the public faced a lot of inconvenience having to travel via Sakleshpur to reach Mangaluru. Biddappa questioned: “Haven’t we learnt our lessons that we are again widening the road? Don’t we realise that the more damage we do to the nature, the more suffering we face?”
Widening of NH-275 will make the presently green terrain barren and this will lead to more landslides and will threaten the very existence of River Cauvery as thousands of trees will be felled in the river catchment area. The current traffic density of 2,500 to 3,000 vehicles per day does not warrant four-lane conversion of the existing two-lane Highway, he stated.