Mysore-Khozikode 400 KV power line through Kodagu: Col Muthanna suggests underground cabling to save 50,000 trees
Col C.P. Muthanna (Retd), president of the Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS), has appealed to the Power Grid Corporation of India, against going ahead with its plans to put up high tension power line across coffee plantations in Kodagu, as this would destroy 50,000 trees leading to a major ecological disaster in the Western Ghats.
Addressing a news conference in Bangalore, Col Muthanna said the matter was coming up before the National Green Tribunal on January 23 and the CWS would argue for routing the 400 KV Mysore-Khozikode power line through the D-line, which is a wide gap in the Nagarahole National Park between Kodagu and Mysore districts.
He added: “If the power line must go through Kodagu, it can be taken underground without felling any tree. In Navi Mumbai, the same Power Grid Corporation has floated tenders for 400 KV underground cable to replace the overhead power lines.”
According to him, the Corporation has already felled nearly 2,000 trees in the reserve forests bordering Kodagu. However, the Karnataka forest department was yet to give permission for tree felling within Kodagu.
He said the Kodagu district in-charge minister Dr H.C. Mahadevappa has written to the chief minister to suspend work on the power line and find alternate routes to prevent the felling of a large number of trees.
Col Muthanna claimed that Kerala politicians have drawn up several plans which could have disastrous effect on Kodagu.
He noted there was a plan to connect the Mattanur airport to Mysore and Bangalore through Kodagu by constructing a four-lane highway which would involve massive tree felling.
The Colonel also claimed there was a plan to link the proposed railway line to Kushalanagar and extend it to Kerala. “It is highly unfortunate that thousands of crores of rupees will be spent in destroying Kodagu for providing comfort and convenience to Kerala,” he added.
Dr B.C. Nanjappa, an environmental activists, deplored that tourist resorts were proliferating in Kodagu without proper clearances and endangering the pristine landscapes. “There should be a moratorium on further licences for resorts in Kodagu till a proper evaluation on the carrying capacity for tourism was carried out,” he added.
Dr Nanjappa expressed concern over rapid urbanisation in Kodagu following the conversion of coffee estates and agriculture lands for commercial purposes. He also sought cancellation of the various MOUs signed during the Global Investors’ Meet in Kodagu as this was essentially meant for setting up resorts and housing layouts.
Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar who was also present at the news conference said Kodagu was a major ‘lung space’ in southern Karnataka and the ecology should be preserved. He wanted the government to promote paddy cultivation in Kodagu as this would ensure perennial water flow in the Cauvery river.