Karnataka

Chamundi Hill faces threat as Minister proposes new projects

Chamundi Hill in Mysuru is turning out to be a concrete jungle.

Chamundi Hill in Mysuru is turning out to be a concrete jungle.  

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None of the projects have been cleared through public consultation

The rush of ‘development works’ and infrastructure projects atop Chamundi Hill in the city authorised by political leaders of the region has irked environmentalists and a large section of the people.

The district in charge Minister V. Somanna has announced a series of works atop Chamundi Hill in his quest for ‘development’. After striking a discordant note by raking up the ropeway project and supporting the construction of a new community feeding hall or dasoha bhavan during Dasara, the Minister last week called for the construction of a few more shopping kiosks to meet the ‘growing demand’ of the locals.

None of the projects have been cleared through public consultation. Even if these are held, only groups with vested interest are represented in the meeting and they consent to the Minister’s projects. These works are in addition to nearly ₹80 crore to be spent under the Union government’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).

“It is the vested interest group of politicians and contractors that will benefit from such projects,” an NGO member stated, on conditions of anonymity. The NGO is now threatening to take legal recourse to stop what it called the concretisation of Chamundi Hill.

Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister, and PWD Minister H. Mahadevappa set the ball rolling. A multi-storeyed parking complex has been constructed atop the hill and there are now plans to revive the road widening project as well. Environmentalists were aghast when Mr. Somanna, on learning of the landslip at Chamundi Hill, called for a ropeway as a solution.

The people of the city are yet to recover from the shock and the Minister has now expressed his view that a few more shopping kiosks, a food court and similar facilities should be constructed. During a review meeting at Chamundi Hill on Friday, there were discussions pertaining to creating facilities for the benefit of pilgrims.

However, environmentalists and common citizens have pointed out time and again that no additional facility was required atop the hill as it was hardly 5 km from Mysuru and no tourist or pilgrims stayed at the top. All facilities are in Mysuru and visitors drive up the hill for darshan and return to the city in a matter of hours. Hence, facilities to stay at the top are redundant but the political leadership of the region is yet to pay heed to this.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 10:30:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/chamundi-hill-faces-threat-as-minister-proposes-new-projects/article29872934.ece

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