Environmentalists for permanent ban on private vehicles to Chamundi Hills

File photo of Devikere at Chamundi Hills in Mysuru.

File photo of Devikere at Chamundi Hills in Mysuru.

  Environmental activists in the city have called for a permanent ban on entry of private vehicles to Chamundi Hills on the grounds that the number of people visiting the hills has exceeded its carrying capacity.

Though private vehicles are barred every Friday of the ‘’Ashada Masa’’ and only government buses ferry tourists and pilgrims in view of the surge in crowd, activists want a permanent ban to be in place to safeguard Chamundi Hills and its environment.

Tanuja, an eco-educationist based in Mysuru, said the model adopted at Himavad Gopalswamy Betta model in Bandipur  - where private vehicles are not allowed to ply to the hill top and tourists are ferried in a government bus -  should be introduced on Chamundi Hills as a permanent feature.

‘’There is no end to the facilities that can be created and yet it will be found wanting to cater to the pilgrims and tourists whose numbers are beyond what the hills can handle’’, she said. Similar demands have been raised by NGOs such as Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) in the past.  

Meanwhile, there is no end to the ‘’development’’ works being taken up atop Chamundi Hills which is turning the lung space of Mysuru into a concrete jungle.

Close on the heels of installing streetlights along the forest route leading to Chamundi Hills which was preceded by the construction of a vehicle parking complex and commercial shops, groundbreaking ceremony has been held for ‘’development’’ of Devikere which is a perennial waterbody on Chamundi Hills.

Chamundeshwari constituency MLA G. T .Deve Gowda and Krishnaraja MLA S. A. Ramdas performed the ground breaking ceremony early this week and said that there are plans to desilt the historic tank from where water is taken daily to perform ‘abhisheka’’ at the Chamundeshwari temple.

As the road leading from Devikere to the temple area in a dilapidated state it will be repaired and to facilitate the devotees walking from Devikere to the temple precincts, railings will be installed all along the route, as per the plan. Besides, there are scores of smaller waterbodies and they will not only be desilted but would be taken up for repair and restoration in the next phase of the works, according to the authorities.

Ms. Tanuja said the terrain from Devikere to Chamundeshwari temple is uneven and hardly anyone uses the route. “Installing railings will add to the concrete cover of Chamundi Hills and reduce the percolation of water and increase the runoff rate’’, she added.

Chamundi Hills is responsible for not only regulating the microclimatic conditions of Mysuru but is a major watershed and helps replenish the groundwater table. But with such projects and concretisation of hills, the groundwater recharge will diminish, caution the NGOs.

Chamundi Hills is beleaguered with a slew of ‘’development works’’ proposed in the recent past and  environmental NGOs like Chamundi Betta Horata Samiti, Mysore Grahakara Parishat and individual activists have time and again called for declaration of a buffer zone around Chamundi Hills to protect it from horizontal sprawl of Mysuru which is fast eating into the lung space.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 4:41:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/environmentalists-for-permanent-ban-on-private-vehicles-to-chamundi-hills/article65579427.ece