Tribals, NGOs seek environmentally sound agenda for Mysuru

Tribals of Hunsur have released what they call a ‘people’s agenda’ and have asked party leaders to respond to the same as protection of forests is fundamental to their existence.  

Will the opposition to ecologically destructive projects in Kodagu, coupled with issues related to Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, come to the fore in the elections in Mysuru Parliamentary constituency?

The environment has never been an issue in elections where caste and party affiliations play a major role. But a section of people in Kodagu district – in Mysuru Parliamentary constituency – are taking the lead in setting an agenda on environmental issues. There is a general consensus among the informed that the natural disaster that hit the district last August was due to environmental destruction that has taken place for decades under the pretext of development.

“Hence we will ask the candidates to spell out their views on the future course of development for Kodagu and speak to candidates not to push for such rail and road projects,” said Col. C.P. Muthanna of Coorg Wildlife Society.

That there is a groundswell of support for protecting the environment is evident in the strong opposition to the railway project linking Mysuru to Madikeri and extending it toThalassery in Kerala, a proposal which triggered massive rallies in Mysuru city too. But whether it will affect voting patterns remains to be seen. Mr. Muthanna said the rail link to Kushalnagar could be extended to Madikeri and the project envisages a 1.5 km underground tunnel through the Dubare forests which will accentuate conflict situations. “Environment has to figure in the elections and the imperatives of protecting the catchment of the Cauvery where large tracts of plantations that harbour forests are being converted to sites, have to stop,” said Mr. Muthanna.

Though political parties are yet to finalise their constituency-specific manifestos, tribals of Hunsur have already released what they termed a ‘people’s agenda’ and have asked the leaders to respond as protection of forests and environment is fundamental to their existence.

S. Sreekanth, of Development through Education (DEED) and convener of Karnataka Vikasa Vahini, said the candidates should spell out their stance on rejuvenating the Cauvery, Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini and their tributaries and the imperatives of conserving the environment.

The tribals have released an 8-point agenda that calls for taking up water conservation measures on a massive scale besides rejuvenating waterbodies in the command areas of these river systems. “Protection and conservation of Western Ghats is intrinsically linked with the conservation of rivers flowing through Kodagu and this has a direct bearing on the local culture which is rooted in nature,” he said.

Political parties have also been asked to make their stance clear on the implementation of the FRA and rehabilitation of 3,418 tribal families in the region who were evicted or displaced from Nagarahole.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:02:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tribals-ngos-seek-environmentally-sound-agenda-for-mysuru/article26614332.ece

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