Karnataka

Ropeway project to Chamundi Hills in Mysuru dropped by Karnataka Government

Though stakeholders from the hospitality and tourism sectors were confident of harnessing the latest technology to minimise environmental damage, a majority ruled against the proposal to build a ropeway to Chamundi Hills in Mysuru, Karnataka. 

Though stakeholders from the hospitality and tourism sectors were confident of harnessing the latest technology to minimise environmental damage, a majority ruled against the proposal to build a ropeway to Chamundi Hills in Mysuru, Karnataka.  | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

The plan to build a ropeway to Chamundi Hills in Mysuru, proposed in the Karnataka Budget for 2022-23, has been dropped following opposition from various quarters and also on the ground that it is a place of pilgrimage.

The decision — which is a major victory for environmentalists — was taken at a meeting of senior officials and stakeholders held in Mysuru on July 6.

The district in-charge Minister S.T. Somashekar, who chaired the meeting, announced that the decision followed inputs and feedback from different departments. Also, the district administration was not in favour of the proposal. Hence, the project would be dropped.

Explaining the reasons for dropping the project, Mr. Somashekar said that Chamundi Hills and Sri Chamundeshwari temple are sacred places that mainly attracted pilgrims and not tourists. There are multiple approaches, including well-asphalted roads besides steps. Besides, with the temple drawing lakhs of pilgrims, a ropeway would not be feasible while the existing network of roads and steps would suffice, said the Minister.

MLA, officials opposed ropeway

In the discussions that preceded the Minister’s announcement, Chamundeshwari MLA G.T. Deve Gowda set the ball rolling and expressed his opposition to the project.

Similar views were aired by officials. Deputy Conservator of Forests (Territorial) Kamala Karikalan pointed out that the department had objected to the project in 2013, and had revoked the permit issued in 1997 when the project was first mooted.

Rukmini Chandran, who promotes adventure sports, said that the ropeway is unnecessary, and demanded curtailing the unregulated development atop the hills.

Though stakeholders from the hospitality and tourism sectors were confident of harnessing the latest technology to minimise environmental damage, a majority ruled against the project.

Other plans in the pipeline

Mr. Somashekar announced that a proposal to acquire 5 acres of land close to the foothills for housing would be examined as the population of the village atop the hills was expanding. Families now staying atop the hills, however, would not be disturbed but further construction of houses would be regulated, he said.

A Chamundi Hills Development Authority, on the lines of M.M. Hills Development Authority, has been proposed to regulate the development activity, said Mr. Somashekar.

Incidentally, the reasons mentioned for dropping the project echo the views expressed by Saraswathi Samman awardee and litterateur S.L. Bhyrappa. He had not only castigated the Karnataka government for the project but also wanted Chamundi Hills and its surroundings to be conserved as a pristine place for spiritual matters and as a pilgrimage centre instead of developing as a tourist centre.

Mr. Somashekar said tourists had various places of interest in and around Mysuru to explore, including the palace and zoo. Hence, Chamundi Hills would be retained as a place for spiritual matters and as a pilgrimage centre.

Among those who participated in the meeting were Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, MUDA Chairman H.V. Rajeev, Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham, officials from the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, and Forest Department.


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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 10:00:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ropeway-project-to-chamundi-hills-in-mysuru-shelved-by-karnataka-government/article65606570.ece