Bandh total, peaceful in Kodagu district

Police had beefed-up security to prevent untoward incidents

Bandh total, peaceful in Kodagu district

The Kodagu district bandh call given by various organisations, opposing the implementation of recommendations of Kasturirangan report on conservation of Western Ghats, was total.

The bandh was also called against the DCF for filing a complaint against elected representatives. Bandh was peaceful in Madikeri, Virajpet, Somwarpet, Gonikoppa, Ponnampete, Shanivarasanthe, Napoklu and Moornadu. The police had beefed up security to check any untoward incidents.

Superintendent of Police Varthika Katiyar said that no untoward incidents were reported from any part of the district. Barring medical shops, other business establishments had remained closed. The private buses also remained off the road. The KSRTC buses had also stopped its services. Members of the Congress, BJP and JD(S) had extended their support to the bandh .

In fact, the SP ensured that there was no road block or hampering the movement of vehicles. When the movement of vehicles at Koppa and Sampaje was blocked by the protesters, the SP herself visited the spot and cleared the road to facilitate the movement of vehicles.

A few miscreants had blocked Bhagamandala road by placing wooden logs. However, the SP along with the police personnel visited the spot and cleared the logs.

The protesters said that if Kasturirangan recommendations are implemented, then it will affect quarry, sand mining and farming activities in ecologically sensitive areas. The DCF who has filed a FIR against elected representatives should withdraw the complaint, said MLA M P Appachu Ranjan.

In Kushalnagar, he said that the recommendations will affect the existence of Kodagu district. Minister for Forests and Ecology Ramanath Rai had said that three acre land including forest land that was encroached before 1978 will not be cleared, said the MLA. The protest will be continued, till the report is dropped.

The merchanats had voluntarily supported the bandh and closed down the business establishments. The busy roads at Gonikoppa, Ponnampet, Balele wore a deserted look.

A large number of passengers were seen waiting at Gonikoppa bus stand to travel to Mysuru, Virajpet and other places in the morning.

A large number of people travelled via Thithimathi to Mysuru and Bengaluru at 5 am. However, by 6 am, tribals of Majjige Halla, residents of Balumani and Vinayaka Nagara blocked the road by placing wooden logs and prevented the movement of vehicles.

This led to an altercation between the passengers travelling to Mysuru and the organisers. With the intervention of the police, the vehicles were allowed to travel. No vehicles from Mysuru travelled to Kodagu till late in the evening.

In Napoklu, coffee grower Biddatanda Ramesh Chengappa said that the Kasturirangan report has identified 53 villages in Kodagu district as ecologically sensitive areas. There is a conspiracy to clear small farmers and agriculture labourers from the land where they are cultivating.

JD(S) district minority wing President M A Mansoor said that a few pseudo environmentalists are behind the eviction of poor labourers, who had encroached land for livelihood.

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