Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd., a Government of India enterprise, which is drawing the 400 KV D/C transmission line from Mysore to Kozhikode in Kerala via Kodagu district, has blamed certain non-governmental organisations of placing hurdles to the implementation of the project citing environmental reasons.
Of the 210-km transmission line, work has been completed in a stretch of 155-km (92 km in Kerala and 63 km in Karnataka). The balance 54.5-km line needs to be drawn in Kodagu, through 38 km of paddy fields and across 12 km of coffee plantations. Works covering a distance of 4.5 km in reserve forests in Kodagu has been completed. The Coorg Wildlife Society and Cauvery Sene have been opposing the project.
The apprehension created by the NGOs among the people over the project is unfounded, says S. Ravindar Kumar, Additional General Manager, PGCIL, who is in charge of the Karnataka projects. He told The Hindu that the project was entrusted to the PGCIL to evacuate power from Kaiga 3 and 4 nuclear plants, with the prior approval of the Union government. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had given clearance for the lines in Kodagu.
As many as 2,450 trees were cut in Kodagu to draw the line across a stretch of 4.5 km reserve forests. An estimated 6,000 trees would have to be cut in the 12-km stretch of coffee plantations and about 300 in the 38-km stretch of paddy fields. However, the contention of the NGOs that over 50,000 trees would be felled to draw the line via Kodagu was far from the truth, Mr. Kumar said.
The PGCIL had commenced the Mysore-Kozhikode line works in December 2005, which was to have been completed in 2007. But, the Kodagu stretch has remained a bone of contention. It has also planned to earmark Rs. 60 crore for payment of compensation to farmers and has already deposited Rs. 10 crore in the Kodagu district treasury. Farmers could be paid Rs. 15 to Rs.18 lakh per acre as compensation in coffee plantations and Rs. 2 lakh per acre of paddy field, Mr. Kumar said.
The alternative routes suggested by the NGOs: utilising the 220 kV Kadakola-Kaniyampetta corridor (through the Bandipur National Park) would not be possible as it is the only inter-State feeder and de-energising it cannot be done since it is critical to meet the demands of north Kerala. The second alternative, that the existing D-line could be made use of (via Nagarahole National Park) was rejected by the State and Union governments.