NGOs, public team up to conserve Chamundi Hill

Development project, around the Hill, has been stopped temporarily

NGOs, public team up to conserve Chamundi Hill

Just a week after the commencement of a project to revamp the footsteps of Chamundi Hill, the works have been stopped temporarily as it has angered NGOs, public and environmentalists, who claim that it mars the natural beauty of the hill, which carries a tag of ‘Heritage site’.

On Sunday, Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) members collected around 500 signatures of morning strollers and devotees on a letter drafted to be sent to the Chief Minister. MGP has also launched an online campaign. Apart from MGP, another NGO ‘Jaagruthi’ has written a letter to the CM to cancel the project and save the heritage site. The project was started on March 3, just a day before the Election Model of Conduct came into force.

S Arun Kumar, convener of Jaagruthi, in his memorandum to the Chief Minister has said that Chamundi Hill is listed as a heritage site, among 210 structures in the city. There are only four government notified monuments in Mysore city as on today and all of them are situated atop the Chamundi Hill. They are the Chamundeshwari Temple, the Nandi (Bull), the Mahabaleshwar temple and the lake ‘Devikere’.

He has argued that according to Section (4) of the Karnataka Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1961, no mining or construction activity is permitted within a radius of 100 metres of the monuments and only maintenance of existing structures should be carried on after 100 metres and within 200 metres.

He said, the project was taken up in a ‘hurry’, without doing any homework and demanded that the work be cancelled.

MGP president R Chandra Prakash said, a committee would be formed to request the District in-charge and Revenue Minister V Sreenivas Prasad to cease the construction work. According to the project plan, four toilets will be constructed along the steps. Prakash said, “When the pay and use toilets in the city are not being maintained well, how can one assure cleanliness in the holy place, where there is scarcity of water?,” he questioned.

There is no need for constructing toilets along the footsteps as it takes hardly 45 minutes to climb the steps. The steel railing too would become a hurdle for the movement of devotees as it divides the steps.

Work stopped

Meanwhile, MUDA, following strong opposition from NGOs to the project, has temporarily stopped the work. “For the time being, the works have been stopped and we will discuss the issue with ministers, public and local MLAs once the LS polls are over, said S Palaiah, Commissioner, MUDA.

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