Top Kodagu officials back illegal road formation across Pushpagiri reserve forest
In a blatant violation of law, the Kodagu district administration and people’s representatives have supported villagers to lay a road through the Pushpagiri reserve forest, amid opposition from Karnataka forest officials.
The controversial road is a 7 km stretch between Madikeri and Subramanya in Dakshina Kannada district.
Over 400 villagers from Galibeedu village near Madikeri, deployed earthmovers to make the road. Their contention was that the road would shorten the distance between Kodagu and Subramanya near Mangalore.
The Kodagu MLAs Appachu Ranjan and K.G. Bopaiah supported the villagers and the road formation was backed by Kodagu deputy commissioner K. Baladevakrishna and superintendent of police T.R. Suresh. In a mockery of justice, the villagers were provided ‘police protection’ to form the road.
The top district officials went to the extent of publicly humiliating forest official Anil Rathan who protested against the road being formed through the reserve forest.
Environmentalists, including a few members of Coorg Wildlife Society, have urged the district administration to move cautiously in the matter.
The environmental groups have submitted memorandums to the district administration to obtain permission from the Union Ministry of Forests, Environment and Ecology.
They pointed out there were alternative existing roads which could be upgraded on the periphery of the forests, instead of formation of new roads through the reserve forests and wildlife sanctuaries.
The memorandum has been signed among others by by Air Marshal (retired) K. C. Cariappa, Thammu Poovaiah, and K. M. Chinnappa.