Students, activists hit streets to save Kappatagudda

Students, activists hit streets to save Kappatagudda

Hundreds of school and college students, environmentalists and seers, led by Shivakumar Swami of Kapotagiri Nandaveri Mutt, on Wednesday staged protests in Gadag and Mundargi, demanding the state government not to withdraw the notification granting wildlife sanctuary status to Kappatagudda hill.

“We will intensify our struggle to save Kappatagudda if the state government withdraws the wildlife sanctuary status accorded to the forests this May,” warned Nandiveri Mutt seer. The agitators submitted memorandums to Deputy Commissioner M G Hiremath in Gadag, and to the tahsildar in Mundargi.

Activists of Kappatagudda Samrakshana Samithi held a meeting at Thontadarya Mutt in the evening. “Late Thontada Siddalinga Swami had spearheaded the struggle to save the biodiversity hotspot. Because of the sustained fight, the government declared the Kappatagudda forest as a wildlife sanctuary. If the state withdraws the notification on the wildlife sanctuary, we will launch a severe protest,” the activists said.

“The previous government had taken public opinion before declaring Kappatagudda forest as a wildlife sanctuary. I am hoping that the incumbent CM would not take an anti-people stand,” former Gadag MLA D R Patil told DH.

Kappatagudda hill, the treasure trove of medicinal plants and unique flora and fauna, is spread over 79,930 acres. Of which, 44,163 acres of forest patch has been declared as a conservation reserve. In May, the state government added an additional 16,168 acres to the reserve and declared the same wildlife sanctuary.

Now, with mining companies eyeing the rich gold reserves in Kappatagudda, the pristine hill may soon lose its wildlife sanctuary status.