Opposition to Goa-Tamnar power project grows in Karnataka

It is expected that the power line will result in the removal of native vegetation in the Western Ghats.   | Photo Credit: File photo

A power project in the neighbouring State of Goa has been ruffling feathers in Karnataka with environmentalists and conservationists raising alarm over its impact on the State’s ecology and wildlife.

The Goa-Tamnar Transmission Line, which is aimed at bringing more power to Goa, seeks diversion of forest land in Dharwad, Belagavi, and Uttara Kannada in Karnataka as well, a major part of it in the Western Ghats, they have alleged. They have urged the authorities here to reject the proposal.

“Out of the 177.091 hectares of forest land for which diversion is sought, a majority of the alignment (i.e. around 101 hectares) falls in Belagavi division. The removal of native vegetation for a transmission line would result in fragmentation of forests, loss of natural habitat of wildlife, create imbalance in the function of watershed, accelerate human-wildlife conflict, cause disturbance to wildlife corridors and avifauna habitat, and result in decline in non-wood forest produce production, which will threaten the rights and livelihood of local communities,” Giridhar Kulkarni, a conservationist, has written in his petition to the authorities in Karnataka.

Seeking the rejection of forest and wildlife clearance for the project, he has pointed out that the proposed project area is already fragmented and disturbed by major linear projects such as the NH-4A widening project and the Hosapete-Londa-Vasco railway doubling project. He told The Hindu that the project had already received wildlife clearance in Goa, but both forest and wildlife clearance was pending from Karnataka. “The High Court of Karnataka had suo motu initiated a PIL with respect to unnatural deaths of elephants and had given directions to State government to review all clearances given to projects in the elephant habitat and corridor and to review non-forest activities.”

Opposition has also come in from Jayanagar MLA Sowmya Reddy, of the Congress, who, in a letter to the Chief Minister and the Forest Minister, among others, has urged the government to reject the proposal. She has pointed out that the project is seeing objections from several sections in Goa as well, and threatens prime environmental hotspots in Belagavi and Uttara Kannada, such as Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and Kali Tiger Reserve. “Goa has other alternatives for power. This project needs to be rejected at the proposal stage,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 6:49:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/opposition-to-goa-tamnar-power-project-grows-in-karnataka/article34404580.ece

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