Kodagu railway project: Greens fear destruction of forests

Kodagu railway project: Greens fear destruction of forests

With various organisations opposing the railway project in Kodagu district, the completion is likely to be delayed. However, there are others who favour the project as well.

Approvals for the survey of Mysuru-Talassery railway line covering a distance of 182 km were obtained after passing the proposal in the last railway budget.

The district has seen staunch opposition for the project after Chief Secretary of Kerala and Karnataka held a meeting on November 9, on the proposed implementation of the project.

The Mysuru-Talassery railway line passes through Piriyapattana-Thithimathi-Balele-Kutta-Manandavadi-Kootuparambu-Talassery.

Environmentalists fear the destruction of vast area of forest if the railway line passes through Kodagu district.

It was Suresh Prabhu as a Railway Minister who gave green signal for the railwayline between Mysuru-Kushalnagar, covering a distance of 84 km. In the first phase, the government had even earmarked Rs 667 crore.

The railways had carried out survey of the route twice in the past. The work on land acquisition and laying of tracks are pending. There is also a proposal before the Centre to extend the route to Madikeri.

Environmentalists state, "If railway connectivity has to be provided to Kodagu district then restrict it to Kushalnagar. If it is extended to Madikeri, then there is a possibility of destruction of Aanekadu reserve forest, thousands of acres of coffee estates near Kedakal and Suntikoppa. The felling of thousands of trees will directly affect the rain pattern the region."

The demand for railway connectivity to Kodagu was raised when R Gundurao was the Chief Minister. Those who have been supporting the project have been submitting petitions demanding railway connectivity for the last three decades.

Those who are supporting the project feel that the railway connectivity will promote tourism in the district. Without railway connectivity, the farm produce cannot be transported to Mumbai and Kolkatta.

Sources said that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has shown keen interest in Mysuru-Talassery railway line. He has held talks with the Railway Board and has asked them to prepare a proposal on land acquisition and estimate for the project.

MLA K G Bopaiah said "In the backdrop of stiff opposition to the project, it is not right on the part of the bureaucrats of both the states to hold a discussion on the same. The project should be stalled."

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