Guruvayanakere-based NGO Nagarika Seva Trust has opposed the proposed 136 mini hydel projects in Western Ghats saying they will harm ecological sensitive forest areas.
In a statement here on Wednesday, the Trust said Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Corporation had proposed 39 projects in Dakshina Kannada, 18 in Udupi, 29 in Chickmagalur, 22 in Kodagu, 13 in hassan, 11 in Uttara Kannada and four in Shimoga to produce 931 MW of power.
The NGO said already more than 600 acres of forest was affected because of power lines of the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. and the pipeline of the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. Hundreds of acres of the forest will be damaged for the power lines of the mini hydel projects. The Union Government’s proposal to Kochi-mangalore-Bangalore gas pipeline too will adversely affect the Western ghats, the NGO feared.
It said the about 1000 acres of forest will submerge if the proposed Gundya hydel project in Hassan. On the other hand, Kudremukh Iron Ore Company, which had mined allegedly mined over 10,000 acres was still hoping to continue mining while a scientific report submitted to the Supreme Court by the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had pointed out at the dangers from coal-based power generation allowed in the region. There was also a threat from the Government’s proposal to divert the Netravati River, the NGO said.
The Trust has demanded that the Centre should declare Western Ghats as being very sensitive in such a manner that no development project is allowed.