Mysore/Mysuru: The public hearing to seek objections to felling of trees in front of Lalitha Mahal Palace for the Heli-Tourism project has been postponed. The hearing was slated to be held on Apr. 23 (tomorrow) at the Forest Department Office — Aranya Bhavan — in city at 11 am.
A press release from Deputy Conservator of Forest (Territorial) Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar stated that in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in Mysuru and amid restrictions imposed on public gathering, the hearing has been postponed indefinitely.
A dream project of Minister of Tourism, Environment and ecology C.P. Yogeeshwar, over 150 trees have to be axed on a four-acre land at Lalitha Mahal Palace surroundings to pave way for a helipad and docking station as part of his Heli-Tourism project. Trees have already been marked for cutting and since the opposition was growing to the project, the Forest Department had called for a public hearing.
Also, as more than 50 trees are scheduled to be cut, the Forest Department has to mandatorily seek public opinion as mentioned in the Forest Act. Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha has clearly stated that the project would not be allowed by cutting of trees at any cost while District Minister S.T. Somashekar has clarified that the State Government would not go against public opinion.
Meanwhile, an online campaign launched to save the trees has garnered over 74,000 signatures. Even member of erstwhile Mysore royal family Pramoda Devi Wadiyar has objected to the public hearing per se and also staked claim over the land proposed for the helipad and cited a High Court of Karnataka ruling in her favour. She wrote to the Forest Department against the proposed felling of trees is unauthorised and amounted to trespassing. She had demanded dropping of public hearing and also tree felling.