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Scars of development in Chadradrona hills

K M Santhosh Kumar, Chikmagalur, May 4 2012, DHNS' 23:00 IST

‘District admn issues permission for 10 resorts without forest clearance’

The mushrooming of resorts in Chandradona hill range, which is one of the most sensitive zones of the Western Ghats is having an adverse affect on the bio-diversity, environment and the shola forests.

The district administration has earned the wrath of environmentalists for giving permission for over 10 big resorts in the region by allowing land conversion, despite objections. All the ten resorts have not received permission from the Forest Department for the construction.

However, responding to the objection and plea of environmentalists, the Forest Department has written to the Deputy Commissioner seeking that no permission should be granted for resorts in the area. A copy of the letter has been sent to Pollution Control Board as well.

It has been learnt that these resorts are being built by influential persons who have encroached forest land. In most of the cases, the forest department officials have inspected the spots and have booked cases against parties for involving into encroachment of forest land, cutting trees and obstructing sources of water in the region. Despite this move, the construction work has not been stopped.

It may be recalled that environmentalists had objected to the work when the district administration decided to widen the roads in the hill range. The district administration went ahead with widening of the road. Frequent landslides were later seen, as a result of unscientific road widening work.

Right at the foothill, near Kavikalgandi a resort is being built and to make way for the resort massive excavation work was taken up using heavy equipment. As a result of this excavation, several boulders on the top of the hill have tumbled down and road blocks were experienced for more than two to three days.

These developmental works have already marred the beauty of the region. With hillocks caving in, the lives of people are at stake and the local residents say that district administration should be alert and from now on it should not give permission for commercial and non forest activities in the region. They say that land conversion should not be allowed for the purpose of constructing resorts. State Wildlife Board Member Girijashankar says that if the leveling of Chandradrona hill continues at the same pace then greater threat will be posed on the people living on the foothills.

A meeting was held on Friday under the presidentship of Deputy Commissioner.

Resolution was taken to cancel the permission given to three resorts by Pollution Control Board.

It was decided to issue notice from revenue department to the proprietor of the huge resort coming up at Kavikalgandi.

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