KARNATAKA

Permission sought for survey on Gundia scheme

HASSAN, MARCH 11. Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL), which is planning to set up the Gundia High Head Scheme in the Western Ghats, around 30 km from Sakleshpur, has sought permission from the Forest Department to conduct a geodetic survey through the Survey of India. Though several surveys were taken up by KPCL earlier, this is the first time it is seeking permission from the department to conduct an official survey, the Deputy Conservator of Forests, S. Shekar, said.

Low-cost project

The Gundia scheme has been identified as one of the low-cost hydroelectric projects . The Government has already accorded approval for the project, and a majority of the geo-technical investigations of various components of the project have been completed. KPCL has sought permission for felling a few trees and branches for conducting the survey and tunnel alignment. It has also sought permission for undertaking a full reservoir-level survey.

Application

Speaking to presspersons here on Thursday, Mr. Shekar said that KPCL has made a formal application for conducting the reservoir-level survey, and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests has sought an opinion in this regard. He will communicate his stand after consulting lower ranking officials, Mr. Shekar said.

To a query on the alleged illegal felling of trees in Kadumane Estate, he said that the owners of the plantation had sought permission to cut nearly 3,000 trees in an area of 1,400 acres. The Deputy Commissioner confirmed the ownership and it is now left to the department to accord permission to fell the trees.

Provision

The owners have sought permission to expand their tea plantation and there are provisions to permit felling of trees for plantations. However, as public interest is involved in this case, the department will be look into all the details before according permission, he said.

Regarding reports of rampant pillaging of forest wealth in the Bisle forest area, Mr. Shekar admitted that debarking of cinnamon has been reported from the Bisle area and nearly 2,500 kg of cinnamon has been seized in the Vangur and Bachihalli range.

However, he denied that around 25 lakh cinnamon trees had dried up due to the debarking and said that it is an exaggerated figure. Mr. Shekar said that the department is making efforts to register cases against the culprits.