Eco-warriors opposed to devpt works on hill shrine

Eco-warriors opposed to devpt works on hill shrine

Construction activities atop Siddeshwara Hill, near Hondarabalu village in the taluk, have been opposed by environmentalists who claim that the temple comes under the limits of BRT Tiger Reserve. However, the Temple Management Board says that the temple does not come under the Reserve forest.

The activists allege that the temple management, under the guise of renovation, has been using metal sheets for constructing a community hall. The temple is situated on the fringes of the Tiger Reserve, which is home to rare species of wild animals. The Forest department permitted laying of roads as the temple board assured that it would be used only for transporting materials and drinking water. But, the board has misused it, they claim.

A section of the activists explained that the number of tigers is on the rise in the BRT range and a herd of elephants were camping on the hill a few months ago. The construction activities under the guise of development increases man-animal conflict. Hence, the officials concerned should not permit such works, they said.

The Siddeshwara Hill shrine had steps that were carved long ago. But, in 2015, the temple board blasted the boulders inside the BRT Tiger Reserve to lay the roads, which also invited the wrath of environmentalists.

Speaking to DH, Chief Conservator of Forests P Shankar clarified that the temple does not come under the limits of Tiger Reserve. But, solar fencing has been erected, including the temple, to facilitate farmers, he said. Nature lovers claim that no new road should be laid inside the sanctuary or around one-kilometre limits as per the guidelines of the National Board for Wildlife. But, the guidelines have been ignored, they said.