Madikeri: A protest rally will be organised on June 2 in Madikeri against the indiscriminate development of Kodagu district that is leading to irreparable damage of the pristine environment. The agitation will promote awareness among people and drum up support against projects including Railway line, National Highways and proposed dams.
Addressing reporters in Madikeri on Monday, President of Coorg Wildlife Society Colonel (Rtd.) C.P. Muthanna said that the purpose of the rally is to protest the destruction of the Kodagu landscape due to unwanted projects, illegal land conversions and illegal constructions.
“In 2015-16 over 54,000 trees were felled in Kodagu for the purpose of the Mysuru-Kozhikode power line. Now there are proposals for two Railway lines and a National Highway through Kodagu. These projects will again result in the felling of several thousands of trees and will only contribute to the hastening degradation of Kodagu, which will in turn impact the environmental conditions,” he said.
“These projects are nothing but scams that will benefit the Kerala timber lobby, work contractors and some corrupt politicians and bureaucrats,” he alleged.
“Through RTI, we have obtained details that the Mysuru-Kushalnagar Railway line will be up to Makkandur near Madikeri. The total budget is Rs. 1,587 crore and we also have information that Caden Surveys, a private survey company has completed survey for 80 ft wide National Highway to link Mysuru via Somwarpet, Madikeri, Murnad, Virajpet, Ponnampet, Kutta, to Mananthawadi in Kerala,” he revealed.
“There are a number of illegal land conversions and illegal constructions in Kodagu and district administration has not taken any action. At this rate, the beautiful landscape of Kodagu will soon be filled with ugly concrete building complexes. This is both due to lethargy from the district administration as well as rampant corruption among revenue officials in Kodagu,” he said.
Kodagu is the principal catchment of River Cauvery and indiscriminate development will further deplete the water flow and will badly affect crores of people who depend on Cauvery for drinking, agriculture and industry. “If this situation continues entire Kodagu will soon be totally destroyed and there will be no place here for indigenous communities,” he opined.
The June 2 rally will be supported by Coorg Wildlife Society, Cauvery Nadhi Swatchata Andolana, Save River Cauvery Forum, Basavana Devarabana Samithi, Field Marshal Kariappa Forum, Kodava Makkada Vokoota, Sathya Veshana Samithi, Cauvery Sene, Kodava Samaja, Madikeri, Kodava Samajas of Kushalnagar, Ponnampet, Ammathi, Raitha Sangha Ammathi, Kodava Samaja Mysuru, United Kodava Organisation, Coorg Wellness Foundation, Kanike Cauvery Trust, Clean Coorg Initiative, Coorg Adventure Club, Coorg Adventure Tourism and Services and Karnataka Rakshane Vedike.
On that day, a massive rally will be taken out from Madikeri Fort at 10.30 am and it will pass General Thimayya Statue and reach Gandhi Maidan. Speakers from various organisations will address the agitators and later, a delegation will submit a memorandum to the Kodagu Deputy Commissioner.