'Proposed high tension line a threat to Cauvery'

Over a lakh trees to be felled for the line: Activist 

The Cauvery Bachao Andolan has opposed the proposed high tension line from Kaiga Atomic Station, Karwar to Kozhikode, Kerala, on the grounds that the line would result in massive ecological damage in the catchment area of the tributaries of Cauvery River.

“Even though there are other shorter routes through which the line can be laid to Kozhikode, the specific route has been chosen, owing to pressure from timber mafia,” B C Nanjappa, president of the Andolan said.

The length of the proposed line will be 550 km, along the coast, while it will be 750 km along the Western Ghats. Moreover, one lakh trees in the catchment area of Lakshmanthirtha River, one of the primary tributaries of Cauvery, will have to be felled, reducing the flow in Lakshmanthirtha and subsequently Cauvery, he said.

Underground cables

He said, an existing high tension line, connecting Mysore to Kozhikode, can be upgraded, in order to supply electricity to Kozhikode, without having to fell a single tree. “Moreover, the Power Grid Corporation of India has the technology and expertise to lay underground high tension cables, as it has done in Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

Such technology can be used to reduce ecological losses,” he said. He alleged that the State government has blindly given clearance to the Central government project, without any studies on the ecological impacts. “Cauvery’s flow has seen a significant decline in the past few years. 
The proposed line, along with several other projects slated to come up along the banks of the river, is a serious threat to the river,” he said.

Other projects

Apart from the high tension line, a proposed four-lane highway to link Kannur airport in Kerala with Mysore, will also result in degradation of the catchment area of Cauvery and Lakshmanthirtha rivers. A railway track, along the catchment area, will only worsen the condition, he said.

Unscientific projects

“A few decades ago, Cauvery river used to flow perennially, even if the region received rainfall for only three months. Environmental destruction, owing to unabated sand mining and other unscientific projects approved by the government, has already reduced the flow of the river,” he said.

At least eight crore people are directly dependent on Cauvery River for drinking water and other needs. 

Felling of trees in the catchment area of the river and unabated development activities, in the form of resorts and homestays, along the banks the river, is sure to dry up the river, sooner than expected, he said.

The Andolan would stage a protest against the proposed high tension line at the power grid at Hinkal on Friday.

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