Why we should oppose Chamundi Hill ropeway?
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Why we should oppose Chamundi Hill ropeway?

March 9, 2022
  • Will the ropeway reduce vehicular traffic? No
  • Will tourists pay for a limited scenic ride? No
  • Is the project economically viable? No
  • Will it disrupt sensitive ecosystem? Yes
  • Will it destroy spiritual environment? Yes
  • Is it destined to be an eyesore finally? Yes

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

Ever since the Karnataka Government has approved the ropeway project to promote tourism on Nandi Hills, some section of Mysuru has started to urge the Government for a similar ropeway project for our Chamundi Hill also.

In his budget-2022 on Mar. 4, the CM announced a slew of projects for Mysuru  including a proposal to be sent under ‘Parvatamala Scheme of Central Government’ for construction of a ropeway in Chamundi Hill of Mysuru and Mullayanagiri Dattapeeta Betta of Chikkamagaluru to promote tourism.

I am sure that there are enough political leaders to support such an environmentally-unfriendly project, despite its environmental impact.

For the present, the Forest Department is not in favour of the Nandi Hills ropeway project. More than likely they will oppose the ropeway project in Mysuru also. But for how long?

Given the political reality, it is only the most daring and really concerned forest official who will refuse to give environmental clearance. It is worth recalling here that Mysuru was lucky in having one such officer Vinay Kumar, who refused to give permission to fell trees in Peoples’ Park. It was because of his daring act, Mysuru still has Peoples’ Park today.

In the past, a ropeway project has been suggested for Chamundi Hill several times. First time in 1994, the Karnataka Government had signed a BOT (build, operate and transfer) contract for constructing a ropeway with Sikka Traders for Rs. 6.5 crore. Because of the protests led by the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) it was dropped.

Each time environmentalists have succeeded in convincing the Government to drop the project. But time has changed now. Despite the protest, the Government succeeded in constructing multi-level parking on Chamundi Hill and also mindless concretisation of the Hill.

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However, if we start opposing the project even before it is on the drawing board, we may stand some chance of saving the Hill from further environmental vandalisation. Let me give just a few sound arguments against the ropeway. These are backed by equally sound rational thinking and convincing examples.

1. One argument in support of ropeway is that it will reduce vehicular traffic and it is the increasing vehicular traffic which has resulted in the recent road caving. Ropeway will in no way reduce vehicular traffic. There is no scientific basis for arguing that the collapse/caving of roads is because of vehicular traffic. Such caving happens in many hills even in the absence of any vehicular traffic. It is mostly affected by rainfalls and the nature of the hills.

2. To claim that installation of a ropeway will lead to promoting tourism is also not backed by any data. Tourists are ready to spend money on a ropeway when the scenery is spectacular to enjoy or an area difficult or impossible to reach. In the case of Chamundi Hill, this is not the case. In fact one can argue that the ropeway will affect the biodiversity and natural beauty of the hill. Chamundi Hill is already threatened by unsustainable development. The best way to promote tourism is for us to leave nature to itself without any human intervention like constructing a ropeway.

3. I have often given the example of such extravagant investment under communist rule in Georgia, one of the countries under the Soviet Union. This may look like just one example which may have no relevance to Mysuru. I think otherwise. Under the communist rule, there was no accountability to hold leaders responsible. The rate of return on investment was not a consideration. A ropeway was constructed in a hill which is similar to Chamundi Hill without considering economic viability. When I visited the place a few years back, it was totally in ruins. It never resulted in more tourists. Today the ropeway is an eyesore. It is my prediction that if any ropeway is built by the Government (no sane private party will invest unless the Government gives direct or indirect subsidies), within a few months it will be closed down and become an eyesore.

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4. Even non-experts will argue that construction of the ropeway will result in felling trees, have a huge impact on wild animals and affect the rich biodiversity. When the world is facing the existential crisis of climate change, why are we bent upon undertaking projects like this which increases energy consumption?

5. It is high time we take a scientific survey to find out the true reasons for tourists coming to Mysuru and particularly to Chamundi Hill. To make a claim that there is no new attraction for tourists to Mysuru is simply unbelievable. Why should there be a new attraction when we have so many attractions already? It is like arguing that Agra needs new attractions. In the case of Chamundi Hill, one can argue that by the so-called development, we are killing tourism. Many come to Chamundi Hill for the spiritual environment (which is more or less disappearing the way commercial interests have taken over) and for the rich biodiversity.

Instead of paying attention to these two factors, we are doing just the opposite. It is time that we the people start asking some inconvenient questions. Should we invest in an environmentally unfriendly ropeway project which has doubtful economics? Or should we give high priority to providing libraries and urgently needed toilets to our Government schools? It is shameful and sad that even after 75 years of getting independence, 63 percent of Government schools do not have proper toilets.

10 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Why we should oppose Chamundi Hill ropeway?”

  1. xxxx says:

    One wonders why some busybodies are always against any change in Mysore ? At the same time when many heritage buildings like Devaraja Market is touted for demolition and rebuilding or desecrating Town Hall by building underground parking dungeon or installing Ambedkar Statue etc there is deafening silence !

    Let us for a minute presume there was no Road to the Chamundi Hills and if there was a proposal to construct Road today then there would have been all round opposition. If there was an alternative like Rope way then it would have been preferred. Rope way is considered as the cleanest mass transport system with minimal destruction of Green Cover and no obstruction to any wild life movement underneath and above all no incessant pollution to the environment by the emission spewing vehicles.

    But unfortunately already there is a Road network ! Then should one embrace Rope way ? I would say the benefits still out weigh the negative campaign. If you look at the recent construction of Parking lot and during Ashada banning of Vehicles and use of only Buses from the base etc , one can see more acute problems in the future. Once the Rope way is ready one should totally ban the Vehicular movement. One can even reclaim the Road and do tree planting. May be for emergency use they can retain the Road from Uttanahalli side. Rope way should also come from Uttanahalli side to integrate the Religious Tourist spots and avoid congestion of base parking space in the city side. One should revive the proposed restoration of an old steps from uttanahalli side also as added facility.

    This is eminently workable solution and don’t oppose with your bigoted theories.

  2. Garadi Mane Questo says:

    @xxxx aka Questo
    Caught you hiding there Gowdare! Your holies than thou attitude reveals who really are!
    Any more misogyny comments?

  3. XXXX says:

    Devaraja Market along with Lansdowne building consisting of matchbox size shops for rent, were commercially not viable, and hence shop keepers and customers both. walked away from them.
    Do you have any idea why Devaraja Market was abandoned by customers? Its complex issue of fruit and vegetable stall lessees-in many cases no one knew who they were, as they were sub-letting those shops and the sub-letters in trun subletting too in a complex chain of arrangement not transparent, Mysore expanding up to Banni Mantap, not making this Market the centre for fruit and vegetable purchases any more, while the street markets in new extensions springing up fast started to sell cheap and fresh produce, were the reasons that Devaraja Market priced itself out.
    People were managing by walking up the 1000 steps, as they thought that this effort worth to see the Chamundershwari. Only the very elderly and infirm were using the roads. In any manner of speaking , moving more and more people through Rope Way and Road can only result in the total destruction of this small place where the Temple is situated. Mysore is expanding in a way, the population is doubling every decade.

  4. boregowda says:

    It is a matter of time, Chamundi hills will be an upscale neighborhood for the rich and (in)famous

  5. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    @B Shenoy
    I agree that the Rope Way will not reduce the visitors’ traffic on the road and divert the visitors to use the Rope Way, given Mysore/Indians love of car culture.
    The only way to protect this iconic Hill is to reduce the human traffic, even if it means rationing the visits to the Hill to a fixed number, and ensuring that these visits from those who are not residents of the Hill, do the visits for the temple only.
    The worry should be more about the Hill itself, that is this Hill unlike the Nilgiri Hills for example is formed of a natural structure mixed soft earth and stones, is thus unable to sustain the constant weight of the traffic on its roads, causing the frequent earth slides-massive to the extent of causing not only harm to the vehicular traffic but also causing greater concern to the Hill structure itself .
    But the Lingayat Bommai government and the BJP mob will not heed to the warnings. They will not rest until this iconic Hill is flattened bringing down the Temple and the buildings atop through a series of earth slides . Just look at the galloping population growth in Mysore and India,the former thousands per day, wanting to visit the Temple. There will be no Hill to look t, and no Temple to visit with in a decade or two if the massive population of visitors on the road and Rope Way ensure the dismal destiny of this Hill.

  6. Questo says:

    The Rope way will cause massive damage to the geological structure of the Hill, as it needs to be constructed with hefty pylons and heavy construction that go deep into the hill structure. Then, massive numbers of people will use it, coupled with the massive number of people using cars on the Hill road.
    Within a few years kiss good bye to the Hill, when it gets destroyed by the sheer weight and force directed at it

  7. jhunjhunwalla says:

    Hey Mysoreans
    Before this Rope Way gets constructed and , before the Road leading to the Temple gets destroyed too due to landslide resulting from heavy vehicular traffic, visit the Temple with one final visit, as there will be no Chamundi Hill within a few years.

  8. jhunjhunwalla says:

    Hey Mysoreans
    Before this Rope Way gets constructed and , before the Road leading to the Temple gets destroyed too due to landslide resulting from heavy vehicular traffic, visit the Temple with one final visit, as there will be no Chamundi Hill within a few years.

  9. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    Hey Barmy Shenoy
    You howl the loudest! It is a bit coming from you, a late settler to Mysuru, arriving in the city after1970s, along with a wave of non-Mysoreans who made the city planners to destroy the forest that encircled this beautiful city to accommodate housing for you, the foreigners to Mysuru. You were not born in Mysuru, was not brought up in Mysuru, and yet you shout the loudest to mask your own contribution to the eco system destruction of Mysuru. Your ‘Grahachara Parishad’ ( the MGP-with that bizarre name) is a swlf-serving crows of retirees who are foreigners to Mysuru.
    Always, an attention seeker-what happened to your open letter to PM Modi, about the piped gas project in Mysuru? I guess, he ignored it, despite your pompous profile you listed there. PM Modi is laughing that as an oil expert you are hiding in Mysuru, which has no connection to oil!
    You were the very daft originator of the plan to convert Devaraja Market into a Istanbul-style Grand Bazaar, an idiotic idea given the relative isolation of Mysuru geographically, and this crumbled Market sits on a very small space!
    Now, you have become a self-styled eco expert-any bull shit to make yourself visible, always an eye on politics.
    This Rope Way will be constructed, if the Karanataka government want it. There is nothing you or this SOM, which always thinks it has more influence than what the reality is, that is zilch!
    Best for you and Mr Ganapathy to spend your last years in peace and quiet, and that was the reason, you a foreigner chose Mysuru to settle.
    Mysuru is destroyed thanks to those masses of people who arrived after 1970s, and who had had no links to Mysuru. Your crowd triggered the destruction of the city through large numbers of immigrants coming to the city, became visitors to Chamundi Hill, driving cars on the Hill road, causing earth slides and now, you are the cretins responsible for this Hill’s destruction as the government plans tourism expansion. TypicalIndian hypocrites.

  10. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    Hey Barmy Shenoy
    You howl the loudest! It is a bit coming from you, a late settler to Mysuru, arriving in the city after1970s, along with a wave of non-Mysoreans who made the city planners to destroy the forest that encircled this beautiful city to accommodate housing for you, the foreigners to Mysuru. You were not born in Mysuru, was not brought up in Mysuru, and yet you shout the loudest to mask your own contribution to the eco system destruction of Mysuru. Your ‘Grahachara Parishad’ ( the MGP-with that bizarre name) is a swlf-serving crows of retirees who are foreigners to Mysuru.
    Always, an attention seeker-what happened to your open letter to PM Modi, about the piped gas project in Mysuru? I guess, he ignored it, despite your pompous profile you listed there. PM Modi is laughing that as an oil expert you are hiding in Mysuru, which has no connection to oil!
    You were the very daft originator of the plan to convert Devaraja Market into a Istanbul-style Grand Bazaar, an idiotic idea given the relative isolation of Mysuru geographically, and this crumbled Market sits on a very small space!
    Now, you have become a self-styled eco expert-any bull shit to make yourself visible, always an eye on politics.
    This Rope Way will be constructed, if the Karanataka government want it. There is nothing you or this SOM, which always thinks it has more influence than what the reality is, that is zilch!
    Best for you and Mr Ganapathy to spend your last years in peace and quiet, and that was the reason, you a foreigner chose Mysuru to settle.
    Mysuru is destroyed thanks to those masses of people who arrived after 1970s, and who had had no links to Mysuru. Your crowd triggered the destruction of the city through large numbers of immigrants coming to the city, became visitors to Chamundi Hill, driving cars on the Hill road, causing earth slides and now, you are the cretins responsible for this Hill’s destruction as the government plans tourism expansion. TypicalIndian hypocrites.

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