The project is to transmit power from Nandikur to KPCL's station in Hassan

Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation (KWF) has urged the State Government to drop its proposed project to draw overhead high tension power transmission lines through the Western Ghats in the State as “it will destroy thousands of trees”.

Instead of overhead lines, it has suggested laying underground cables along the road in the Charmadi Ghat.

In a letter to Minister for Energy Shoba Karandlaje, coordinator of the city-based foundation Niren Jain said that Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPCL) had planned to draw 400 kV D/C high tension overhead power transmission lines between Udupi Power Corporation Limited's generation station at Nandikur in Udupi district and Shantigrama in Hassan district through the Western Ghats to transmit thermal power.

In his July 20, 2011 letter, Mr. Jain said that if overhead lines were allowed, thousands of trees in the Charmadi Ghat would have to be felled. “This will damage one of the most sensitive ecosystems of our region.''

The letter said that the forest advisory committee appointed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests while granting forest clearance for transmission lines had stated that “the project proponent shall explore the possibility of laying underground cable through the corridor (wildlife corridor)”.

Mr. Jain said that the proposed alignment of transmission lines fell in eco-sensitive areas of the Western Ghats involving 76.37 acres of forestland in Chikmagalur division and 89.29 acres of forestland in Mangalore division.

Cables could be laid underground along the Charmadi Ghat using advanced technology. Such cables had been manufactured for the purpose of avoiding damage to high density forest areas and to avoid environmental hazards.

“We also need to look into the economics of maintaining the watershed catchment area of the Nethravathi where the transmission lines are proposed to cut across,'' he said.

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