'Proposed 220 KV line will denude 400 acres of forest in Western Ghats'

'Proposed 220 KV line will denude 400 acres of forest in Western Ghats'

: State Biodiversity Board Vice-Chairman Anil Kumble speaking at the Scientists Conference on Conservation of Western Ghats in Karnataka in Bangalore on Thursday. The programme was organised by Western Ghats Task Force and Karnataka Forest Department. Prof DK Subramanyam and Environment Minister Krishna Palemar are seen. dh photo

Environment Minister, Krishna J Palemar on Thursday made it clear that the Environment Department will not clear the proposed line since it would have “adverse” effect on the ecological system in the Western Ghats.

At a two-day conference on the conservation of the biodiversity in the Western Ghats, Palemar directed the Principal Secretary, Environment Department not to give a clearance to the project.

“The proposed 220 KV line from Udupi to Hassan will denude 400 acres of forest land in the Western Ghats. It is a concern of environmental safety in the State,” he said.
According to the initial proposal sent by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) to the Environment Department for clearance of the Udupi Power Project, it has been stated that 52 meter wide corridor will be built for the project on 400 acres of land.

“It would mean cutting down an enormous number of trees,” he said. The Department has told the KPTCL to look for an alternative route for the project.

KPTCL under pressure

The Government officials stated that the KPTCL was pushing for the transmission line for reasons of a penalty clause applicable if they do not complete the project in the stipulated time.

Earlier, inaugurating the two-day conference, Ananth Hegde Ashisar, Chairman of the Western Ghats Task Force appealed to the Government to accept the proposal sent by the Task Force on the creation of a separate fund for the Western Ghats on the lines of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Vice-Chairman for the State Biodiversity Board and cricketer Anil Kumble hoped that the conference will ensure a consistent dialogue between the scientists and the Forest Department over the conservation of the biodiversity in the State.

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