KARWAR: The Mahadayi project is put on hold after Goa’s objection. However, in Karnataka, a proposal to divert 177 hectares of forest land to draw a high power transmission line for Goa is under process. This has left the greens here red-faced. The Government of Goa has been objecting to the Mahadayi drinking water project citing destruction of forests.
But on the contrary, it wants transmission line cutting through two significant forest areas — the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (DWS) in Uttara Kannada and Deemed Eco Sensitive Zone of Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) in Belagavi. This development has put into action the wildlife enthusiasts who are urging the government not to allow the project as it will have a detrimental effect on the pristine wildlife habitat and the unique flora and fauna in the region.
Belagavi-based wildlife enthusiast Giridhar Kulkarni who highlighted the issue said that the proposed project aims to transmit power from the outskirts of Dharwad to Goa, which passes through Dandeli Elephant Reserve and ecologically sensitive zones of both KTR and BWS. “Of the 177.09 hectare area, 30.412 hectare area is in the Castlerock area of Dandeli Sanctuary, which forms a contiguous patch for KTR,” he told Express.
The forest has species like Tiger, sloth bear, Leopard, Gaur, Great Indian Hornbill and other rare animals protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Giridhar wrote to the then Chief Minister on November 17, 2018 to both PCCF, Head of Forest Force and Chief Wildlife Warden on February 14, 2020 and to Chief Secretary, on June 18, 2019 and even to Conservator of Forests, Belagavi recently. Surprisingly, no politicians from Karnataka with an exception of former member of State Board for Wildlife Sowmya Reddy raised their voice against the project.
Reddy has written to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on 25 February, 2021 expressing her concern. The Jayanagar MLA has written to the Chief Minister, requesting not to allow the project, saying it is not in the interest of wildlife. The project aims to transmit additional 400 kV of power to Goa and has been taken up as part of a project by the Union Ministry of power. The over Rs 265 crore project seeks to divert forest land for a period of 50 years.