‘Save Chamundi Hills’ activists set to approach Green Tribunal

UNITED IN DISSENT:Environmentalists and various organisations protested against the proposed development projects on Chamundi Hills by climbing up the steps wearing black T-shirts and badges on Sunday. Among those who participated were writer S.L. Bhyrappa, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar and Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar.— photos: by special arrangement  

Environmentalists and the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) have decided to file a public interest petition with the National Green Tribunal in Chennai against the State government’s proposed development projects on Chamundi Hills, including the plan to lay a four-lane road.

The environmentalists and various organisations, who protested against the projects by climbing up the steps wearing black T-shirts and badges on Sunday, held a meeting atop the hill and decided on the PIL route.

Bhami Shenoy, convener of MGP, and Venkatesh of Let’s Do It-Mysore, a voluntary organisation involved in making Mysuru greener, told The Hindu that thousands of trees may have to be cut and large swathes of forest area destroyed if the projects, particularly the four-lane one, go ahead. They said they would soon prepare a report as to how many trees would be chopped down and then file a petition.

Questioning the need for four-laning the road, they said traffic congestion is not common on the approach road to the hilltop as it is wide enough to accommodate vehicles on both sides.

‘Don’t spoil its beauty’

They further said too much focus on tourism would denude the area of its scenic beauty.

Writer S.L. Bhyrappa flagged off the protest. He said development projects would urbanise the pilgrimage site and wondered what prompted the government to even propose the road project. Instead, the authorities should focus on keeping the hill clean and preserve the environment by constant greening. They should also reduce the flow of traffic to maintain the serenity of the hill, he said.

He added that rare flora and fauna species are found on the hill and in the name of development, they should not be forced into extinction.

Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, the Maharani of Mysuru, and Yuvaraja Yaduveer were among those who expressed their solidarity with the agitation and urged the government to drop the development projects.