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Chikkamagaluru road project will sound death knell for Western Ghats

Two governments are fighting to execute one road between Chitradurga and Bantwal.

Published: 27th November 2017 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2017 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

The project will bifurcate the Western Ghats in Chikkamagaluru district | Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Two governments are fighting to execute one road between Chitradurga and Bantwal.
Opposing this project are forest officials, locals and wildlife activists. They say the Shisila-Byrapura Road will permanently destroy the Western Ghats into two and sound the death knell for major rivers of Karnataka.

If the state wants to build a single lane road in the verdant Western Ghats of Chikkamagaluru district, the Centre is already ready with a DPR for a four lane road.Last October, Karnataka government sanctioned `13.84 lakh for DPR/survey. However, only survey work was completed. In fact, when the matter was raised in the Belagavi session recently, PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa said the DPR will be ready soon.
The Centre too stepped in to prepare a blueprint and sketch of the road under the Golden Quadrilateral Bantwal-Chitradurga Corridor Project. National Highway Authority of India plans to link the highway NH-75 from Mangaluru- Ujiri-Charmudi-Mudigere -Chikkamagaluru-Kadur-Holalalkere via Chitradurga (NH4).

In a presentation made by NHAI engineers to the forest officials on November 20, the details of the project were presented. Deputy Conservator of Forest, Chikkamagaluru Chandranna who attended the presentation, told Express that he was horrified that such a suicidal project had been planned by the engineers but sanction cannot be given for this project at any cost, he said.

Chikkamagaluru DCF added, “It will be one of the biggest ecological disasters of the century. It will destroy the delicate Shola forests which absorbs water and moisture and provide water to Netravathi, Vedavathi, Hemavathi and major birth rivers and also divide the elephant corridor. I have advised them an alternative route — a deviation to save Western Ghats. From Mudigere hand post, there is a 45km road to Sakleshpur which could be developed.”

Expressing concern, senior and mid level forest officers add, “If the government permits, we are ready to file a PIL against the project. In fact, engineers of NHAI need to be taught the value of Western Ghats.”
On their part, wildlife activists have called for immediate stoppage to the highway project as it falls in the Balur Reserve Forest and is an eco-sensitive fragile area with a rich biodiversity of rare flora and fauna.

Biodiversity region
Falling in verdant Western Ghats, the Shisila-Byrapura
area receives an annual rainfall of 300-400 inches. The Ballur reserve, Miya reserve forests and Kabbinale reserve forest are part of this and this is a linked forest forest connecting both Shiradi and
Charmudi ghats.

Adverse effects
Permanently damage Western ghats
Major rivers destroyed
Flora and fauna threatened
Endangered wild animals will disappear
Elephant corridor destruction
Rain forests will disappear



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