Staff Correspondent

HASSAN: Several organisations led by the Malnad Janapara Horata Samiti took out a procession here on Friday on the occasion of World Environment Day and formed a human chain at Narasimha Raja Circle to create awareness on the need to protect the Western Ghats.

Students, environmentalists and journalists took part in the rally. Traffic came to standstill at N.R. Circle for more than half an hour.

Samiti president H.A. Kishore Kumar, who addressed the people at N.R. Circle, explained why environmentalists were opposed to the Gundia power project.

He said it would affect the Western Ghats as the bio-reserve was one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. As many as 1,000 acres of forest land would be submerged while the backwaters would destroy another 5,000 acres if the project was commissioned, he said.

Mr. Kumar claimed that the Western Ghats, which ranged across 1,200 km from Kanyakumari to Maharashtra, was all set to be declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. “It is also one among the seven rarest forests in the world where several species of animals live. The Western Ghats are also known for rare medicinal plants, particularly in Pushpagiri (Sakleshpur taluk),” he added.

Vulnerable areas

Mr. Kumar said the project would affect Kempuhole, Bajemane, Yedakumeri, Bisle, Hongadahalla and Shiradi forests in Sakleshpur Taluk of Hassan district. The remaining part of the Gundia forest was in Dakshina Kannada district.

Dharna

The activists also staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office against the power project.

Editor of Janata Madhyama R.P. Venkatesh Murthy, Hassan district Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Udaya Ravi and environmentalist H.T. Mohan Kumar spoke.

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