Gonikoppa: The residents of Kodagu will resist any attempt to widespread and indiscriminate land conversion for commercial purposes propelled by the State Government’s move to approve land conversions within 72 hours. Protests will be organised to oppose the move which will spell a disaster to Kodagu, said Save Kodagu Movement Convener Col. (Retd.) C.P. Muthanna.
“Our intention is to protect the landscape and fragile ecosystem of Kodagu and unfortunately, we are branded as pseudo environmentalists by the people in power who are hell bent on destroying the ecology of Kodagu to achieve their self-interests,” Col. Muthanna said at a press conference yesterday.
The Save Kodagu stakeholders and people are not against planned and systematic development. “We are against indiscriminate development which has already threatened the water sources of Kodagu and there has been an increased man-animal conflict. Tigers and elephants have entered our coffee estates and our livelihood has been threatened, I am open for a discussion with Kodagu MLAs and MP regarding this,” he said.
In the last 10 years, thousands of acres of land in Kodagu have been converted for commercial purposes and hundreds of applications are pending. This has led to the concretisation of land which used to absorb rainwater and recharge the groundwater table earlier. The Government’s move to approve conversion within 72 hours will lead to a barrage of applications and it will spell doom for the district, he added.
Many Government projects have spelt disaster in the district including the high-tension power line to Kerala that destroyed 55,000 trees. “The elected representatives, supported by their stooges who have no sense of environment protection, are bringing more and more destructive projects to Kodagu and we have seen how mountains have collapsed due to these mindless projects. Rivers of Kodagu are dying a slow death,” he added.
Kolathanda Raghu Machaiah of Cauvery Sene, Trishul Thimmaiah and Malchira Shan of Kodagu Samrakshana Vedike were present at the press meet.