Ponnampet: After fighting legal battles for years against the destruction of River Cauvery catchment areas in the name of development, people of Kodagu finally hit the streets this morning and demanded scrapping of projects that would destroy the greenery and upset the ecological balance. Thousands attended a massive protest rally held in Kutta, a border village in south Kodagu, and opposed the destructive projects.
Coming under the banner ‘Save River Cauvery’, volunteers from various Kodava Samajas, close to about 50 organisations, ex-servicemen, planters and farmers took part in the rally beginning from Ponnampet and culminating at Kutta.
Over 100 people from Mysuru attended the rally and a special bus was arranged for the purpose by the Mysuru Kodava Samaja. To express solidarity with protesters from Kodagu, a separate protest was organised at Town Hall in Bengaluru where over 50 protestors, holding placards, opposed destruction of greenery.
Protesters assembled at the Ponnampet Bus Stand at around 9 am and began their rally after performing puja at the Basaveshwara Temple.
Hundreds of vehicles then moved from Ponnampet to Kutta where people shouted slogans against the proposed Railway line to Kodagu and other water projects that will spell a doom for the district.
The vehicles proceeded towards Hudikeri, T. Shettigeri, and Srimangala and reached Kutta where the rally con-verged. Leaders of various Kodava Samajas addressed the protesters.
They also registered their opposition to the 400 kV power line project passing through Kodagu besides linking of National Highways. After the Mysuru-Kushalnagar railway project, similar railway project between Thalassery and Mysuru that proposes a corridor between Iritty and Virajpet will axe several lakh trees. For power transmission line to Kerala, 60,000 plus trees have been cleared which has already affected the rainfall pattern in Kodagu.
“These projects are not required for Kodagu which is an environmentally fragile and sensitive region and entails large scale felling of trees,” said Col. C.P. Muthanna of the Coorg Wildlife Society, which is also a part of the campaign.
“The railway line for Kodagu is being touted as an important link providing connectivity to the coffee market across India. But we must remember that there is little value addition to coffee cultivated in Chikkamagaluru because of rail connectivity in Hassan. The Mysuru-Kushalnagar-Madikeri railway line has no benefit to the district at all and this could open up the district to migrants from Bangladesh who are already in large numbers in Kodagu. Crime will increase and it will be an easy escape route from Kodagu,” he added.