Can the fragile ecosystem of Chamundi Hills in Mysuru absorb more concrete constructions being proposed under the guise of “development”, while ignoring its environmental imperatives?
The question is doing the rounds among citizens of Mysuru, who have come together to save the hills from what they described as destructive development and instead proposed a scientific study of the hill’s carrying capacity.
The citizens have also called for integrating Chamundi Hills with Mysuru’s eco-development and planning and divest it from the responsibility of the local gram panchayat, which is oblivious to the dangers posed by indiscriminate development works being mooted by the authorities.
The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has raised objections to the construction of a new bus-stand, multilevel parking lot, dormitory facility, a commercial complex to accommodate 116 shops, roof canopy for devotees along the route leading to the temple and similar development projects on the lines of Tirupati and M.M. Hills.
Addressing media persons here on Wednesday, MGP president R. Chandraprakash said that information secured under the RTI also reveals plans for a second Dasoha building, a guesthouse, a VIP guesthouse, and an administrative office all at a cost of Rs. 80 crore by acquiring 8.04 acres of land.
Mr. Chandraprakash said a development plan for an eco-sensitive and heritage place like Chamundi Hills should include objectives of protecting the environment. With the proposed development, the condition atop the hills will worsen,” he said.
The MGP insisted on an environmental public hearing before launching the works and has threatened to approach the court to stall the projects.
Environmentalist U.N. Ravikumar said nobody has done a scientific study of the carrying capacity of the hill and it should be undertaken by the government before proposing any such projects. “The environmental protection of Chamundi Hills is vital for Mysuru as it is a regulator of the local climate and if the hill was not protected, then the city environment too would suffer,” he said.
Suggesting alternatives to the proposal, Maj. Gen Sudhir Vombatkere (retd) and Mr. Ravikumar said instead of multilevel parking facility, the authorities should ban private vehicles and introduce additional bus services as done successfully during Ashada, create a system to handle biodegradable wastes generated, provide solar lighting at the top around the temple, and so on.