Karnataka

Greens ready for fresh struggle against rail project

The proposed railway line from Mysuru to Kushalnagar in Kodagu has evoked strong protests.

The proposed railway line from Mysuru to Kushalnagar in Kodagu has evoked strong protests.   | Photo Credit: file photo

MP for Mysuru Pratap Simha’s decision to write to the Railway Minister supporting it comes under fire

Environmentalists and residents of Kodagu are bracing for a renewed struggle against the Mysuru-Kushalnagar railway project which has received fresh traction.

Though the project elicited a widespread opposition from the people of Kodagu on the grounds that it was environmentally inimical and led to mass protests even in Mysuru, Pratap Simha, Mysuru MP, is batting for it and this has evoked strong criticism from activists.

What is ironical is that the project is being pushed as “socially desirable” though there has been opposition to it on environmental grounds and the memories of last year’s floods and landslips being still fresh in the minds of the local people.

Mr. Simha wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal last week stating that the first phase of the project from Mysuru to Kushalnagar had not made much headway.

Mr. Simha went on to state that Kodagu is an important tourist destination but is “unfortunately not on the railway map” and added that it time the district was part of the railway network.

Col. C.P. Muthanna (retd.), of Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS) which is one of the organisations spearheading a campaign against linear projects through Kodagu, told The Hindu that ecologically-sensitive areas should not be subjected to demographic pressure but the railway project is being pushed on the pretext that it will benefit tourists and pilgrims.

“Kodagu does not want such tourist and pilgrim inflow as the district’s carrying capacity is limited,” Mr. Muthanna said, pointing out that stakeholders of the region will meet in Madikeri on Friday to chalk out their next course of action.

NGOs and environmentalists will rally again to oppose the project as part of the ‘Save Kodagu-Save Cauvery’ campaign.

The CWS said two railway projects are being sought to be pushed through Kodagu – the other being the Thalassery-Mysuru railway line – and a few national highways which will spell doom to the Cauvery catchment area.

Col. Muthanna said it was ironical that the government wants to stop the construction of multi-storey apartments in Bengaluru for lack of water but such linear projects are being pushed which will destroy the catchment area of the Cauvery which is the lifeline for millions of people in the downstream.

People have taken to social media to express their outrage against the project and Mr. Simha has been flayed for pushing for it on the grounds that it will give a fillip to socio-economic development of the region.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 6:25:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/greens-ready-for-fresh-struggle-against-rail-project/article28236954.ece

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