Citizens' forum to move SC against works atop Chamundi Hill

The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has decided to move the Supreme Court against the ongoing construction works atop Chamundi Hill. The Parishat claims that the works would affect the ecology of the place.

The Public Works Department (PWD) had taken up projects like widening of roads to facilitate faster movement of cars, construction of multi-level parking space, shopping complex and shelter for those who wait in a queue to have a darshan of the goddess.

The government had taken up the projects amidst stiff opposition from a large number of people. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah laid the foundation stone for a slew of construction projects in the name of development in April 2016.

Bhamy V Shenoy and Ashvini Ranjan of the Parishat told DH that the Parishat has decided to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the ongoing construction works in the apex court after Karnataka High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on April 3, 2017.

The court also directed MGP to approach the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and make a representation to the Principal Secretary.

They pointed out that the construction activities on the hill are progressing at a rapid pace. With Chamundeshwari temple here generating huge revenue amounting to around Rs 80 crore, the elected representatives have always been chalking out plans to spend it in the name of development and facilities for the visitors. The politicians are aware that such projects would harm the delicate ecological balance and mar the beauty of the hill, but they are driven by greed, the members alleged.

MGP and other activists had protested against the indiscriminate construction atop Chamundi Hill but the protests were called off after the then Deputy Commissioner C Shikha stalled the works on June 23, 2016, and directed the Public Works Department (PWD) to develop an Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

After a few months, however, an EMP was prepared and approved without taking the public into confidence. What’s more, the EMP report was not shared with the public, the activists alleged. The activists claim that the EMP is not as per the Environmental Protection Act.

Massive protests 
Various organisations such as Let’s do it! Mysore, MGP, Mysore Travel Agents’ Association along with thousands of people had launched a programme ‘Chamundi Betta Ulisi’ to oppose the construction activities. Celebrities like writer S L Bhyrappa, former India paceman Javagal Srinath, wildlife photographers B S Krupakar and Senani Hegde, Major General (retd) Vombatkere and members of Mysuru royal family Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar expressed their solidarity with the organisations fighting for the cause.
DH News Service

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