Farmers from Tamil Nadu too join protest

People of Kodagu, opposed to a proposal of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) to draw a high tension transmission line across verdant forests and coffee estates to link Mysore with Kozhikode, on Monday received support from farmers downstream the Cauvery, including the lower riparian State of Tamil Nadu, participating in a demonstration.

The “Save Kodagu” campaign has gained in strength with the support of farmers, environmentalists, non-governmental organisations and local people coming together in a big way and this was evident at the protest rally at Madikeri.

The protestors said that a large number of fully grown trees in the forests would be cut to facilitate the project, thereby endangering ecology and posing a threat to the flow of river waters.

More than 500 activists of the Cauvery Sene, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene from Mandya, Mysore, Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts, Basavana Devaracadu Samithi, Ammathi Raitha Sangha, Coorg Wildlife Society and others took part in the agitation.

They formed a “human chain” and took out a rally on the main streets shouting slogans against the Union and State governments and Minister for Home K.J. George, who is Minister in-charge of the district, for “failing” to address the concerns raised over the project proposed to be implemented by Power Grid Corporation of India.

The rally culminated at the deputy commissioner’s office where the leaders spoke.

Mr. Ravi Chengappa said: “An alternative alignment for the HT power line suggested by us will not require any tree felling and this has been ignored. Even laying of underground cables could be considered instead of felling trees.”

They said that if the Power Grid Corporation goes ahead with the plan, then the ecology of the region will stand to be disturbed. Problems posed by elephants that stray into habitations and plantations will aggravate if the trees are felled.

South Kodagu (which adjoins Nagarahole) is the catchment area of the Lakshmana Theertha, an important tributary of the Cauvery, and tree felling will pose a threat to ecosystem.

The representatives of the various organisations have submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner urging him to shelve the project.

Protest in Mandya

Mandya Staff Correspondent reports:

Members of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) on Monday staged a protest on Bangalore-Mysore State Highway in Srirangapatna against the project to draw the high tension power line.

Traffic was disrupted for nearly 30 minutes.

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