Identifying encroachments, polluting factors, deforestation
Kushalnagar: A survey to identify encroachments, dumping waste water and coffee pulp into River Cauvery — a lifeline for over three crore farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that irrigates about 40 lakh acres of land — is underway at Kushalnagar in Kodagu District.
The survey is being held following repeated appeals from the Cauvery Nadi Swachatha Andolan to the State Government and the Centre. The survey is being carried out by Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited (CNNL) and a private company from Mangaluru has been engaged for the physical survey work.
The survey will cover the entire distance from Talacauvery in Kodagu, the birthplace of Cauvery till it exits Kodagu. Later on, the survey will be initiated beyond Kodagu, in Mysuru and Mandya. Stakeholders of Cauvery Swachatha Andolan have been demanding such a survey on both sides of the River extending to 100 metres to identify and remove encroachments, destruction of ecology, deforestation and polluting sources.
Recently, at the meeting headed by the Chairman of Karnataka State Western Ghats Task Force, Shantheyanda Ravi Kushalappa, Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha and Madikeri MLA M.P. Appachu Ranjan, the issue was placed on the agenda by the State Convener of Cauvery Nadi Swachatha Andolan M.N. Chandramohan.
Natural flow impacted
Considering the seriousness of the issue, the survey has been ordered and CNNL officials, who were present at the meeting, were directed to conduct a comprehensive survey. Ravi Kushalappa told the meeting that the both banks of the River have been indiscriminately encroached upon.
In the name of promoting tourism, the Government was giving permission to build hotels and resorts on the banks of Cauvery, without understanding its impact on the natural flow of the River. Many hotels which do not have underground drainage facilities, were releasing sewage into the River, he noted.
The ultimate aim of the survey is to remove encroachments after demarcating the River boundaries, prevention of sewage flow into the River by finding alternative sewage treatment plants in Gram Panchayat, Town Panchayat and Municipal Corporations that are located on the banks of the River.
Second survey by CNNL
Following the decision to carry out the survey, the team from Mangaluru is doing the survey in Kushalnagar since the last four days and they will proceed to Bhagamandala and Talacauvery later. The team will submit an initial report to the CNNL that will conduct the main survey and will submit a report to the Government incorporating the suggestions given by the Cauvery Nadi Swachatha Andolan to clear encroachments and prevent pollution.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Chandramohan said that in the name of tourism, trees were being cut to level the ground, resulting in a change in the course of the River. In fact, the River course of Harangi, a tributary of Cauvery, too has changed of late.
Excessive deforestation has reduced groundwater levels and River Cauvery has turned into a dumping yard for domestic, agriculture and industrial waste. Unscientific tourism practices like illegal home-stays have also piled woes on water quality, he added.
“Cauvery, the lifeline of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, is slowly dying due to the release of sewage. Need of the hour is to save the River and if we don’t act now, the River will join the list of most polluted rivers in the country. We have been demanding the survey since 2011 and now it has become a reality thanks to the MP, MLA and other elected representatives,” he said.