NGOs bank on environmental, heritage laws to stall Chamundi Hills project

Creating awareness:Environmentalists will hold a candlelight vigil on Saturday to broaden the support base for the Save Chamundi Hills campaign.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM  

The NGOs opposing “development work” atop Chamundi Hills are banking on environmental and heritage laws to stall the project in court.

The protests are being spearheaded by Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) and Let’s Do It Mysore, besides individuals who will also organise a candlelight vigil on June 18 at 6.30 p.m. to broaden the support base for their agitation.

Bhamy V. Shenoy of the MGP told mediapersons here on Wednesday that the government has not called for an environmental impact assessment nor sought permission of the Heritage Committee — which incidentally has not been reconstituted and hence not convened in recent years — and hence would bank on it to fight the issue legally.

The MGP referred to the recent public debate on the issue organised by it and said the exercise helped bring out critical issues to stall the project. “The debate brought out facts on how the ecological hotspot of Chamundi Hills will be destroyed by the ongoing project and it was also being rushed through in violation of the Forest Conservation Act. Since Devi Kere, Chamundeshwari and Mahabaleshwara temple are heritage structures, no development activity can take place without the approval from the heritage committee,” according to MGP. “Though we have sought an audience with the Chief Minister through the local MLAs, including Vasu, and Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, we are yet to hear from them,” said Mr. Shenoy.

Prashanth of Let’s Do It Mysore said the local MLA, G.T. Deve Gowda, had expressed his solidarity with the ongoing protest on the grounds that it would destroy the environment for which Chamundi Hills was known. Refuting suggestions that it was a struggle between environmental activists and developers, the MGP said NGOs too were for development but it should be in harmony with environment.

To organise candlelight vigil on Saturday at 6.30 p.m. to broaden the support base for their agitation