Expert panel gives go-ahead for power transmission line

An expert committee gave the go-ahead to State-owned Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), to draw a 400 KV DC transmission line from Mysore to Kozhikode in Kerala through Kodagu.

The three-member committee headed by R S Shivakumara Aradhya of the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) has recommended that the existing alignment can be retained and at the same time has suggested a few precautionary measures. Speaking to reporters in Bangalore on Wednesday, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar said the government has accepted the recommendations of the committee and will act accordingly.

The project was entrusted to the PGCIL to evacuate power from Kaiga 3 and 4 nuclear plants.  Of the 210-km transmission line for the project, work has been completed for a stretch of 155 km. The remaining 55 km line needs to be drawn in Kodagu, but the localites had sought an alternative route as the present alignment of the transmission line would cut through reserve forests, plantations and paddy fields.In May this year, the government constituted the committee to study the pros and cons of drawing the transmission line.

The panel which had Raman Sukumar from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science and IFS officers Ajai Misra as its members has recommended that the existing alignment will have no adverse effect on plant and animal life. However, it has suggested that the government should make efforts to provide better compensation to paddy field owners than that proposed by PGCIL.

The panel has suggested that efforts should be made for regeneration of natural vegetation and steps be taken to ensure that the rights of the tribals in the forest are not violated. Besides, the committee has suggested that a conflict mitigation plan be prepared by the forest department to reduce elephant-human conflicts within coffee plantations, paddy field and settlement in Kodagu in the wake of movement of machinery or cutting of trees and construction of tower lines.

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