Power line through Bandipur riles activists

November 05, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:40 am IST - MYSURU:

The area has a large population of elephants that are vulnerable to electrocution

Work on a power line near the Moleyur range of Bandipur National Park has infuriated wildlife activists, who have opposed the non-forestry activity in the eco sensitive zone (ESZ) of the tiger reserve.

Pits have been dug up and RCC poles have been dumped along the road stretch passing through the ESZ bordering Moleyur range of the tiger reserve which connects B. Matakere to Hediyala.

Activists have drawn attention of the officials to the prevailing norms as per which any non-forestry activity inside an ESZ of a tiger reserve can be undertaken only after securing approval from the National Board for Wildlife.

“The civil works have commenced in less than 200 metres from the Moleyur Range office, yet no attempt has been made to seek mandatory approvals as per Wildlife Protection Act 1972,” said the activists.

It was confirmed through other sources in the Forest Department that there was already a power line connecting the two places and the new power cables were not only redundant but were also in violation of the ESZ guidelines.

Wildlife activists pointed out that not only are the villages along the stretch situated in the ESZ but new power projects are governed by the ESZ notification as per which underground power lines have to be laid as against the overhead lines.

Underlining the negative impacts of an overhead power line, the activists expressed concern that pursuing this new project will result in clearance of vegetation besides wildlife being prone to accidental electrocution caused by cables lines sagging due to fall of a tree or branch.

Incidentally, the area has a huge population of elephants which would be most vulnerable for electrocution and there have been instances of elephant electrocutions both inside and outside the national parks due to sagging power lines.

“If laying the power line is inevitable, then underground cables are the way forward. It is also recommended in the ESZ. It is easier to lay the cables as also maintain them as storms and heavy rains does not result in the cables snapping,” the activists said.

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