Forest Dept. red flags zip line project atop Chamundi Hills

The Tourism Department had sought 0.22 hectares of forestland for the project.

The Tourism Department had sought 0.22 hectares of forestland for the project.  

Tourism Minister apprised of ecological damage of the project and dwindling wildlife population owing to urbanisation

The Forest Department has conveyed its opposition to the zip line project at Chamundi Hills, which was proposed by the Tourism Department.

Senior Forest Department officials in Mysuru apprised Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi of the environmental issues arising out of the project. At a meeting held in the city, Mr. Ravi wanted to know the status of the ‘ropeway project’.

According to Forest Department officials, the Tourism Department had sought clearance for the zip line project and not ropeway project and assumed that the Minister was perhaps referring to zip line. “But the impact whether it is zip line or ropeway will be the same,” the officials said. The Minister was told that Chamundi Hills was the last vestige of wilderness and lung space for the city of Mysuru and it was already under anthropogenic pressure due to rise in the number of tourists and pilgrims. There was a rash of development activity at the foothills where residential areas were fast coming up. Hence, it was imperative to conserve the existing lung space and the greenery and projects like zip line/ropeway were inimical to it, according to senior Forest Department officials who attended the short interaction with the Minister.

Mr. Ravi was also apprised of the dwindling wildlife population owing to unbridled urbanisation atop the hills and the need to put a stop to such projects.

The Tourism Department had sought 0.22 hectares of forestland for the project but the Forest Department officials informed the Minister that the disturbance to the existing forest during the construction phase would be high as pathways have to be created besides erecting pillars along the zip line. In addition, a parking lot has to be constructed to cater to the tourists and hence it was prudent to drop the project, the officials added.

Sources said the Minister did not pursue the subject further. The Tourism Department had sought permission for the project a few years ago but it was rejected. However, the demand was revived but the Forest Department has refused clearance.

Environmentalists and conservationists in the city have welcomed the Forest Department view, while pointing out that the threat to Chamundi Hills remains high as recently the district in-charge Minister, at the behest of the local MLA G.T. Deve Gowda, wanted a new dasoha bhavan to cater to the growing number of pilgrims.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:19:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/forest-dept-red-flags-zip-line-project-atop-chamundi-hills/article29394929.ece

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