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KWF objects to power plant at Gundya

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NATURE’S GIFT: Kempu Hole, a tributary of the Netravati which flows through Gundya is the source for the proposed hydro-electric power project.
NATURE’S GIFT: Kempu Hole, a tributary of the Netravati which flows through Gundya is the source for the proposed hydro-electric power project.

Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE: Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation (KWF), a Mangalore-based environmentalists’ group, has objected to the comprehensive environmental impact assessment and management plan, prepared by a Bangalore-based institute, for setting up the hydro-electric plant at Gundya.

The Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) has proposed to set up a 200-MW power project at Gundya on the borders of Dakshina Kannada and Hassan districts.

In its objection filed before the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada during a public hearing on the project conducted at Gundya recently, the foundation alleged that the report contained “false and misleading information and data”. It urged the Deputy Commissioner, who was the presiding officer for the public hearing, to reject the report. Co-ordinator of the foundation Niren Jain stated in the objection, a copy of which was made available to The Hindu, that the report had mentioned that the project site was at a distance of 30 km from Pushpagiri Wlidlife Santuary.

But, according to the topographic map prepared by the Survey of India, the proposed project site was within 9.5 km of the sanctuary and within the ecologically sensitive zone, as per the Environment (Protection) Act, he said.

The Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore, recognised by the Union Government, had found clear evidences of tiger scat (droppings) and tiger tracks during the Karnataka tiger distribution survey. The foundation has objected to another statement of the report that said: “none of the species of fish reported from the area show migratory behaviour and none of them are rare, threatened or endangered”. Mr. Jain said that scientists of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, had identified 14 freshwater fish species in the Gundya area. Of them, two were endemic and endangered species.

The Netravati was the lifeline of Dakshina Kannada. If the perennial springs were to dry up owing to the project, it would be difficult to meet the drinking water needs of the district in the long run. “We request that the project be dropped on this ground alone,” he said in the objection.

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