Citizens to press for heritage committee’s approval, stakeholders involvement in implementing PRASHAD scheme on Chamundi Hills 

Celebrities to be roped in to build mass support to save the area

Updated - January 19, 2023 06:57 pm IST

Published - January 19, 2023 06:35 pm IST - MYSURU

Environmentalists have warned that Chamundi Hills was turning into a concrete jungle and new projects will be inimical to its ecological health.

Environmentalists have warned that Chamundi Hills was turning into a concrete jungle and new projects will be inimical to its ecological health. | Photo Credit: File Photo

The citizens’ committee to save Chamundi Hills and its environment has resolved to press for clearance from the heritage committee before the implementation of development works at the hill top under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)

The PRASHAD scheme is a Union government project and infrastucture works worth ₹49.5 crore will be taken up ostensibly for providing amenities to the tourists.

The details of the scheme remain sketchy and has drawn the ire of the citizens, activists and NGOs in the absence of any credible information.

 The Chamundi Betta Ulisi Horata Samiti, which is an umbrella organization of various NGOs and activist citizens, met here on Thursday and resolved to meet the Deputy Commissioner next week and apprise him of their apprehensions about the projects.

Given the heritage and spiritual importance of Chamundi Hills, the subject should be placed before the district heritage conservation committee and secure its approval as in case of the repair of a government school atop the hill, said .N.S.Rangaraju of INTACH Mysuru and member of the heritage committee. He said there was no accountability when it came to Chamundi Hills and local stakeholders were being sidelined.

U.N. Ravikumar, a proponent of alternative technologies and conservationist, said though tax payers’ money was being spent, the citizens per se were being kept in the dark about the project and wanted greater consultation before the project was implemented.

He said given the environmental sensitivity of Chamundi Hills the focus should be on its conservation and wanted the government to take up projects that are not inimical to the local ecology besides encouraging use of public transportation and banning the plying of private vehicles.

 Mr. Ravikumar said the Chamundi Hills has exceeded its carrying capacity and it could not sustain further anthropogenic pressure. He also suggested making Chamundi Hills a carbon neutral area by 2030 by harnessing solar technology besides seeking a buffer zone around the foothills.

Bhamy V Shenoy of Mysuru Grahakara Parishat reiterated the demand for constitution of Chamundi Hills Authority so as to regulate the growth inimical to the environment of the hills. Maj.Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere (retd) stressed the imperatives of roping in social media influencers and celebrities to the cause of saving Chamundi Hills so as to build up mass support.

A section of the citizens also mooted the idea of filing a litigation. The committee also took exception to the ‘’park development’’ projects being taken up by elected representatives. Mr. Shenoy said the Karnataka Parks, Play-fields and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act 1985, was being violated with impunity and depriving the city of its much-needed lung space.  

Chamundi Betta Ulisi Horata Samithi convenor Parashurame Gowda, members of Parisara Balaga and other organisations were present.

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