Protests against ropeway to Chamundi Hills gain fresh traction

Former councilor and city Mayor B.L. Bhyrappa staged a solo demonstration against the project on Sunday

March 13, 2022 08:27 pm | Updated March 14, 2022 08:18 am IST - MYSURU

There is growing opposition against the proposed ropeway to Chamundi Hills in Mysuru

There is growing opposition against the proposed ropeway to Chamundi Hills in Mysuru | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

The ropeway to Chamundi Hills under Parvata Mala scheme proposed in the State Budget continues to evoke protests from a cross section of the citizens.

While former councilor and city Mayor B.L. Bhyrappa staged a solo demonstration against the project on Sunday, a section of citizens gathered to chalk out their next course of action to stall the project a few day earlier.

Mr. Bhyrappa said the ropeway project entails tree felling and degradation of the forest due to movement of heavy earth moving vehicles and workers during the entire duration of the construction. Under the guise of tourism development, the forest should not be destroyed and instead efforts should be made to protect the existing natural tree cover and beauty of the Chamundi Hills.

Early last week, a group of citizens came together under the banner of Chamundi Betta Ulisi Horata Samithi or Action Committee to save Chamundi Hills and discussed their next course of action. It entailed building up public opinion against the project by eliciting signatures etc.

Kannada writer Prof. Kalegowda Nagavar said they plan to network with other likeminded citizens and groups and will also impress upon the political leadership both locally and at the State level to drop the project.

‘’We will convene another meeting involving environmentalists like Yellappa Reddy, A.C. Lakshman, former forest secretary, environmental journalist Nagesh Hegde among others to chalk out the next course of action’’, said Prof. Kalegowda Nagavar. If necessary the team will meet Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and other politicians to pressurize them to drop the project, he added.

The activists have averred that apart from ropeway there is concretization of Chamundi Hills and this has to be stopped and the Samithi members will work towards it. The Samithi members who attended the meeting last week, also highlighted the frequent landslips at Chamundi Hills and said further tree felling will only aggravate the situation. There were also suggestions to rope in the members of the Wadiyar family including Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar who has expressed pro-environment views in various fora.

The project has triggered opposition each time it was revived and already groups like Mysore Grahakara Parishat have registered their protest in the past while a signature campaign too have been launched – as recently as in November-December last year when a project was announced to ‘’develop’’ Chamundi Hills as a tourist and pilgrim destination under Central Government’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive PRASHAD scheme.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bhamy V Shenoy of MGP questioned the latest scheme to install stainless steel railings on both sides of the steps leading to the hill top. In one of the review meetings held in the Mysuru Zilla Panchayat recently, the Mysuru MP Mr. Pratap Simha had justified the project as necessary for the benefit of senior citizens. Dr.Shenoy wondered whether senior citizens would be interested in climbing 1,008 steps to reach the hilltop. ‘’Those who are fit will not require the support of railing’’, he said and cautioned that new schemes under PRASHAD was resulting in concretization of Chamundi Hills.

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