Owner donates 3-acre plantation land to widen highway

 Ashok Kumar Shetty

In a rare gesture, a land owner has donated his entire three acre coffee plantation to help authorities widen and restore Madikeri-Somwarpet State Highway.

The road near Balaji estate was completely damaged due to recent landslides in the district.

A huge trench had been created as a 450 metre-long road was washed away. With 12 damages on the stretch, the road had been sealed for traffic at Kandanakolli, Haleri, Makkanduru, Emmettala, Hattihole, Tantipala and Madapura villages.

The residents were forced to trek through hills to reach the neighbouring villages.Initially, experts had toyed with the idea of constructing a bridge to facilitate connectivity between the villages. But the plan to construct a bridge was shelved with Ashok Kumar Shetty, owner of Sincona Estate, stepping forward and voluntarily handing over three acres of coffee plantation to Public Works Department (PWD) for the purpose. The donation of excess land helped the PWD relay a new road and help residents access their villages without having to take the long rugged path.

Contractor Ashraf said Shetty had lost nearly 50 acres of coffee plantations in different parts of Kodagu due to landslides. Yet, that did not stop him from donating the three acres of land for the road project, he added.

Shetty, now based in Chennai, has helped thousands of villagers with his gesture.

Zilla Panchayat member Abdul Latif from Suntikoppa has also donated one acre of land to build houses for flood victims.

He handed over the land documents to Housing Minister U T Khader here recently.

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Owner donates 3-acre plantation land to widen highway

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