Madikeri/ Mysuru: President of Coorg Wildlife Society Col. (Retd.) C.P. Muthanna, who is also the Coordinator, Save Kodagu and Cauvery Campaign, has demanded the immediate sacking of K.C. Venugopal from the post of All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary (Karnataka In-charge) for exerting pressure on the State Government to implement the disputed Thalassery-Mysuru Railway Line Project.
In a letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the copy of which is with Star of Mysore, Muthanna has said that Venugopal was misusing office to put pressure on the State Government to implement the Railway project that connects Thalassery to Mysuru via eco-sensitive Kodagu. If implemented, the project will destroy the district as the railway line passes through thick rainforests.
“Venugopal has been instrumental in pushing through a 400 KV high-tension power line through Kodagu from Mysuru to Kozhikode in Kerala. The project went through despite protracted opposition from the local communities. As a result, over 60,000 trees were cut in Kodagu, which is the principal catchment of River Cauvery. The same Venugopal is now trying to use his influence to get approval for the Mysuru-Thalassery railway line through Kodagu,” the letter stated.
“The railway line is an unnecessary project that will only serve the purpose of powerful vested interests, with thousands of trees being put to the axe. At a time when there is serious dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu regarding sharing of Cauvery waters and when thousands of farmers in the region are committing suicide due to the vicious cycle of drought and debt, it would be disastrous to even contemplate such destructive projects through Kodagu,” Col. Muthanna wrote.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Muthanna said that Venugopal was acting like an extra-Constitutional authority and is wielding his political power and influence for the betterment of Kerala, his home State, at the cost of Kodagu and Karnataka.
“It is at Venugopal’s behest that the Konkan Railway Corporation is undertaking a survey of forest land in South Kodagu without the permission of private land owners,” he said.
“I have written to Rahul Gandhi and requested him to remove Venugopal from the party post he holds so that he will not misuse his office to further his own political interests,” Muthanna added.