Nature enthusiasts oppose widening of NH 275 in Kodagu

National Highway 275 which passes through Madikeri-Kushalanagar in Kodagu.

Green activists protested against the widening of National Highway 275, which passes through Kodagu, under the four-laning of Mysuru-Bantwal Road.

Retired Colonel and Coorg Wildlife Society former president C P Muttanna told reporters in Madikeri on Monday that the Kodagu region has been surrounded by hills. The drinking water is guaranteed to people in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu only when the catchment area of River Cauvery in Kodagu is protected.

The widening of NH 275, from Kushalnagar to Madikeri, into a four or a six-lane would result in chopping of thousands of trees in the region. This would further intensify man-animal conflicts, he said.

Expressing his apprehensions over the issue, he said the existing two-lane road is sufficient to handle the traffic and there is no need to widen the stretch.

The road widening project is expected to incur an expenditure of around Rs 30,000 crore and this project is of no practical use for Kodavas. The project will only fill the pockets of politicians and contractors, he added.

He said hundreds of industries were depending on the rainfall in the catchment area of River Cauvery.

Col Muttanna said that if the environment of the region is destroyed in the name of road widening and railway projects, there will be an imbalance in nature. This will also leave a negative impact on industries and agriculture.

Kodagu Maraka Yojane Horata Vedike member Rajiv Bopaiah said that the government should have taken the consent of the people of the region before taking up the road widening project.

“We are not against development. But, the development works should be carried out keeping in mind the topography and climate of the region. The landslides which occurred last year, have left a panic in the minds of people. Let us not aggravate the situation by dumping more and more projects on Kodagu,” he said.

Rajiv further said some people have been claiming that the NH widening will provide a boost to tourism in the district. Tourism in Kodagu is not bad. Around 18 lakh tourists visit the district every year.

Road accidents could be avoided if the quality of the existing Kushalnagar-Madikeri Road is improved, he added.

Sharath Kanth and Poovaiah were present in the press meet.

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