City environmentalists and few NGOs launched a signature campaign against the proposed ropeway project for Chamundi Hills in Mysuru on Sunday.
The project was announced by the State Government recently on the grounds that the ropeway would give an impetus to the local tourism industry.
“Mysoreans Oppose Ropeway” was launched by the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) and the Society for Empowerment of Voluntary Association (SEVA) on the grounds that the serenity and environment of Chamundi Hills would be destroyed by the project.
More than 1,000 signatures were collected on the first day of the campaign and the activists plan to reach out to more people in the days ahead, mobilising opinion against the project.
MGP president R. Chandra Prakash said that Chamundi Hills had both historic and heritage value apart from its environmental significance and people visiting the hills were apprised of the dangers of the proposed project.
MGP and SEVA activists pointed out that Chamundi Hills had good approach roads and a convenient transport system apart from steps and hence there was no need for a ropeway.
They also said that a ropeway will need uninterrupted electricity for which a generator will have to be installed which will result in noise pollution and will endanger the fauna in otherwise a tranquil forest environment. “Apart from violating the forest conservation laws the ropeway will also amount to converting the forest land for commercial purposes which in itself is illegal,” they said.The project was initially mooted 10 years ago but was dropped following opposition from environmentalists. However, it has been revived and there are stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sector supporting it.
Mr. Prakash said that the petition with signatures will be handed over to District in-charge Minister V. Srinivas Prasad.
Maj.Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere (retd.), M.P. Bhat, Sheshadri, Ganga Prasad from MGP, Aaradhya and his associates from SEVA, Leela Shivakumar from Apna Desh, M.Srinivas from Karnataka Sarvaoday Mandala and others explained to morning walkers and those climbing the steps the impending damage of the project to the hills.