Greens oppose 4-laning of NH and railway line in Kodagu

Environmentalists, led by Kodagu Maraka Yojane Virodhi Vedike members, take out a protest march opposing four-laning of the highway project in Madikeri on Saturday.

A rally organised by environmentalists, led by Kodagu Maraka Yojane Virodhi Vedike members, opposing the four-laning of the highway and laying of four railway lines in Kodagu district, was opposed by BJP workers on Saturday. Later, the rally was organised under tight police security. 

As the environmentalists took out a protest march raising slogans to protect the environment and River Cauvery and also protect Kodagu from four-laning of the highway reached Gandhi Maidan, the BJP workers demanded the four-laning of the highway and raised slogans to counter the rally by the Vedike.

Tension prevailed as both the factions engaged in raising slogans against each other. 

Later, the police sent all the BJP workers out of the venue. The BJP workers said, “All those who are opposing the projects are pseudo-environmentalists. All those who participated in the protest are not from the district. How will we live without the development of the roads?”

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar said, “Kodagu used to experience severe cold weather during December. With the change in climate, the cold weather has disappeared. There is an increase in resort culture by felling trees in the district”.

He said, "The Western Ghats cover six states in India. All of us can survive only if the Western Ghats are saved from destruction. The Western Ghats supply water, fruits, and oxygen to 40% of the population in India. If we fail to conserve it, then destruction is in store for us.”

Heblikar said, “The dependents can survive only if River Cauvery is saved. There has been a decline in the forest by 32% in five districts where River Cauvery flows.” 

He said what is the need to lay highway and railway line by felling 20 lakh trees in Karnataka. How will the people in villages survive with the destruction of the forest? he asked.

The groundwater table has decreased a lot in rural areas, he stated. 

He expressed concern over the destruction of Western Ghats. Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan Committee recommendations are not aimed at hurting the people. Instead, the recommendations aimed at conserving the forest. 

Vedike President Rajiv Bopaiah said works worth Rs 10,000 crore will destroy Kodagu district. 

Wildlife President C P Muthanna said, “All of us should raise voice against destruction. A few political miscreants are engaged in selling Kodagu district. All the citizens should be cautious of it.” 

Manju Chinnappa of United Kodava Organisation demanded strict action against those who tried to disrupt peaceful protest march. 

Ravi Chengappa of Kaveri Sene said an attempt was made to suppress our protest. A case will be filed against those who tried to disrupt the programme. 

A memorandum was submitted to JD(S) leader Padmini Ponnappa, who in turn promised to discuss with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on the pros and cons of the projects.

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