Retd officers oppose four-laning of NH-275

Retd officers oppose four-laning of NH-275

H T Chandrasekhar

Several prominent citizens, most of them retired higher officials of the state government, are opposing the formation of the four-lane Mysuru-Madikeri National Highway 275, in the present form, as it affects the ecology, including Ranganathittu bird sanctuary in Srirangapatna, Mandya district.

Retired Additional Deputy Commissioner H T Chandrasekhar, one of the signatories of the petition to the Chief Engineer of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), said, “The proposed project will cause extensive and irreparable damage to the agricultural fields in Mandya and Mysuru districts, Western Ghats of Kodagu district, i.e., ranges of Bramhagiri and Pushpagiri hills, which have been declared as one of the ‘World Heritage Rain Forests’.”

Retired Deputy Conservator of Forests M B Srinivas said, “The damage to Western Ghats will badly affect the origin and also basin of Cauvery River, the lifeline of southern Karnataka, including Bengaluru.”

Chandrasekhar said, the project will be a blow to wildlife, as the proposed highway would pass through agricultural fields, forests and also amid Ranganathittu bird sanctuary.”

Letter to modify 

Following the petition, the Chief Engineer of NHAI has written a letter to the Chief General Manager of NHAI, on October 15, 2019, requesting to modify the formation of the highway.

As per the plan, the Madikeri Highway would be connected from Srirangapatna, via Bommuru Agrahara, Avverahalli, Balamuri, Beechankuppe, Karimanti, Kempalingapura, Palahalli and Belagola, bypassing Mysuru.

Srinivas said that road users can drive up to Ring Road towards Mysuru and take a right at Columbia Asia junction to join the Madikeri Highway, without entering Mysuru city. “For preserving the ecology, there is no harm in the vehicles travelling a bit more. If we lose our fields, forests and river catchment, the damage will be severe and irreversible,” he said.

A petition is also submitted to the Forest department, citing the damage that might be caused to forests and wildlife. Thus, the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Wildlife division, Mysuru, has written a letter to the General Manager (Technical) and Project Director of NHAI, on November 4, objecting the project and seeking details with GPS readings, as no report is received so far.

The signatories include former Forest Secretary A C Lakshmana, wildlife photographer B S Krupakar, retired chief engineer M B Jayashankar, naturalist U N Ravi Kumar, sustainable living consultant Ramesh Kikkeri, biologist Nima Manjrekar, retired joint director for agriculture K R Lakshmikantha, retired public prosecutor D J Shivaram, retired principal H B Mallikarjunaswamy, Yoga exponent B P Murthy, Chartered Accountant Sham Prasad and social activist J P Ayanna.

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