BENGALURU: Environmentalists in Mysuru are up in arms against the state government’s plan to create a helipad opposite Lalith Mahal Palace Hotel. They have suggested that the existing helipad near the palace premises, belonging to the royal family, be used instead. Mysureans have started a campaign and voice that Mysuru should not become Bengaluru “a barren concrete space, where green cover has been lost owing to civic works.”
Environmentalists say that the place proposed for the project is a wooded area opposite to the hotel, where over 180 butterfly species and 80 bird species can be seen fluttering, breeding, roosting and migrating. “Initially, we thought that 100 trees will be axed, but when we went on ground, we saw that 600 odd trees have been marked to be axed. Mysuru is a heritage, cultural, green city and we do not want it to become like Bengaluru. We are not opposing the project but there are alternative spaces where heli tourism can be introduced,” said M K Sapta Girish, a Mysuru-based environmentalist.
Environmentalists say the helipad near Mysore Palace isn’t very far from the proposed location, so considering it as an option would be good. They suggest that there is also Mysuru airport, which is
five kilometres away from the proposed location and the vacant large space near Mysuru Dasara exhibition ground, which is also not far and is lying idle.
The space in contention is home to state butterfly- Southern Bird Wing, Malabar Banded Peacock, Scarce Shot Silverline, Indigo Flash, Red Flash, Common Shot Silverline, Red Helen, Lime Swallow Tail, Stripped Pierrot, Western Stripped Albatross. The area has over 40 host plants for butterflies.
The list of birds sighted include Blythes Reed Warbler, Brown Shrike, Gray Wagtail, Brown Flycatcher and Indian Golden Oriole, Indian Grey Hornbill, Common Iora, Purple Rumped Sunbird and Grey Francolin to name a few. K S Shivashankar, another Mysuru-based environmentalist said already the temperatures are soaring high, now if this green cover is lost, then it will be worse.
Tourism minister C P Yogeshwar, who had proposed the heli tourism concept said, he was not aware of the situation. He said works will be done as per the law. He assured to look into the issue and said that so far nothing was finalised.