Govt gives green signal for high-tension power lines

Amidst opposition from the environmentalists, the State government has given green signal to the Kodagu district administration to re-start the work on Mysore-Kozhikode 400 KV high-tension electricity supply lines.

In a letter written to the the Kodagu DC, State Forest, Environment and Ecology Dept Principal Secretary S Sivashailam has said, “If the electricity wire, that passes through 55 km area in Kodagu is laid above 15 metres above the ground, it would not harm the elephants. Therefore, the electricity wire laying work can be re-started.” It can be noted that normally electricity wires are laid 9 metres above the ground.

The letter, has evoked opposition from the environmentalists. Recalling the recent High Court judgement which had directed the government to re-consider all the work that passes through elephant corridors, an environmentalist said that Lingapur, Maldare, Thithimathi, Kanur, Nalkeri, Kutta and surrounding areas where the proposed hi-tension wire passes through, are habitats of elephants. Several trees will have to be cut for laying the hi-tension wire, which will adversely affect the animal habitat, the environmentalist said.

Following the opposition from the environmentalists, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tiwari had written to the government on October 21, requesting the government to re-consider the matter. In reply, forest department principal secretary has directed the DC to start the work.

Government’s letter

The letter by the forest department chief secretary, states further, “the State government while giving permission to the work on March 1, 2012, had imposed a condition to the Powergrid Corporation that the hi-tension wire which passes through reserved areas of elephants in Kodagu and Mysore, should be laid six metres above the normal height.

The elephants even if they raise their trunk, can not reach the wire at 15 metres height. Therefore, laying wire at this height, would not harm elephants.”

Further, the letter clarifies that the High Court in its judgment on October 8, too has imposed a condition that the electricity wire should be in such a height that elephants should not be able to reach it. Hence, laying wire at 15 metres height would abide by the HC directive too.

The 120 km long 400 KV hi-tension wire from Mysore to Kozhikode will pass through 55 km land in Kodagu. Of this, 4.45 km is forest land, while the remaining is private land and plantations.

The wire laying work has been completed from Mysore to Lingapur (Mysore-Kodagu border) on the one side, and from Kozhikode to Manandavadi (Kerala-Kodagu border) on another side. As the work faced severe opposition from environmentalists in Kodagu, the work was halted for sometime. If the project is implemented, it would provide 520 MW power to Karnataka and 260 MW to Kerala from Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

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