RAICHUR : The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for a fresh economic corridor to connect Mangaluru and Raichur districts. This economic corridor is part of Central government’s much-touted Bharat Mala project. For this new project, the NHAI has to carve out almost 15 km that falls in the belt of Western Ghats, a highly eco-sensitive stretch where there is thick forest and receives fairly high rainfall. According to the project director Somashekar, the authority is in need of at least 60 hectares of land of Western Ghats that comes between Mudigere and Nelyadi.
Apart from 60 hectares, there are small pieces of lands established as estates. There is an estate owned by private owners. The proposed economic corridor by the Central government between Mangaluru and Raichur is Mangaluru - Chitradurga - Ballari- Raichur. The project director who is in charge between Chitradurga and Mangaluru, said, “The focus at present is taking clearance from forest and environment ministry to carve out 15 km in which some portion comes under Western Ghats.”
Near Mudigere, there is a small temple named Bhireshwara and near Nelyadi, there is another shrine named Shishileshwara. These are the two points which connects Mudigere and Nellyadi and the DPR is being prepared for the same. This entire identified route between Bhaireshwara and Shishileshwara to lay new 6-lane road is almost 15 km. And 15 km in which some portion comes under western ghat, requires 60 hectares of forest land.
And for the rest of the portion that forms 15 km including Western Ghats, acquisition of estate owned by Kordes and other private owners is required. This stretch between Mudigere to Nellyadi will be six lane. From Nelyadi, the road has been updated to national highway standards via Bantwal to Mangaluru, he said. Once this DPR gets approval and gets forest clearance, then a new alignment from Mudigere to Hassan via Hanbal will be proposed.
Another project director Ajay Mani Kumar who is in charge from Chitradurga district to Raichur district said a separate DPR is being prepared for a road between Hassan and Raichur that passes through Chitradurga district. People travelling from Mangaluru will be travelling through Mangaluru - Bantwal - Nelyadi - Mudigere - Kadur - Huliyur - Hiriyur - Challakere - Ballari - Adoni - Mantralayam - Raichur. All these routes will be upgraded as economic corridor. D V Girish, a senior forest conservationist, termed this project a money making project. “There is already five existing connecting routes - Subramanya, Charmadi, Shirdi, Kudremukh and Agumbe. The government is saying they cannot control the traffic. This is totally absurd,” he opined.