Railings to be installed on both sides of hill steps
Mysore/Mysuru: A mesh fence will be erected to demarcate forest boundary atop Chamundi Hill. The fence will ensure that there is no threat to Chamundi Hill and its fragile ecosystem from encroachers.
This will also prevent wild animals from entering human habitat in the Hill surroundings.
A decision to this effect was taken at the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meeting held at Zilla Panchayat Hall yesterday that was chaired by Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha. Along with the protective fence, the Hill steps will get railings on both sides for the convenience of the devotees.
The Forest Department was asked to take steps to fence the areas around the Hill so that there is no further encroachment. Forest officials told Star of Mysore that Chamundi Hill Forest is presently protected as a Reserved Forest by the Karnataka State Forest Department.
In 2019 itself, the Department had proposed chain-link mesh fencing of the entire stretch to prevent entry and exit of people through the forest area.
The Department has already fenced the foothill area at Tavarekatte, said officials. The overall Chamundi Hill Forest area is 1,516 acres.
The DISHA meeting raised concerns over unbridled urbanisation of the landscape which is not only a lung space for the city but is also an important watershed. There is a threat of urbanisation at the foothill and there is rampant construction activity at the Hilltop which is eroding the green cover.
Railings on steps
MP Pratap Simha also said that railings would be installed on the 1,008 steps leading to Chamundi Hill, to help devotees and tourists climb the steps.
The railings will be installed on both sides of the steps under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme, he said.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Kamala Karikalan said that the Forest Department had already dug up pits at several places on the Hill for ‘Ingu Gundi’ (where rainwater is collected in small pits for recharging groundwater) and a project will be prepared to dig more such pits.
Intervening in the discussion, Deputy Commissioner Dr. Bagadi Gautham suggested that instead of digging up pits en-masse, it can be taken up scientifically after consulting Agriculture Department and Minor Irrigation Department officials. Works could be taken up under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), he suggested.
Green activists mislead people: MP
During the discussion on fencing and protecting Chamundi Hill, MP Pratap Simha charged certain environmental activists for what he called misleading people in connection with the development of the Chamundi Hill.
“These people have not visited the Chamundi Hill even once and they unnecessarily create issues whenever the Government takes up development activities atop the Hill. Even if a small landslide occurs atop the Hill, activists project as if the whole Hill has collapsed. These people have no concern for the Hill and have no idea about hill stations. Rather they should visit Chikkamagalur and Kodagu for a better understanding of the landslides,” he said.