Picture from the outskirts of Madikeri Town. Madikeri Town is a mere 17 Sq Km. Image by: Julijan Ny?a
Amidst calls by the Cauvery Family (a group of farmer leaders from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu formed to resolve the Cauvery tangle) to cancel the investors meet , yesterday the Coorg Investors Meet was held at Madikeri.
The Govt held the Investors Meet to sign MoU and offer lands around Madikeri to the Investors for setting up industries.
Convenor of Cauvery Family, B.B.Subbaiah on Monday had requested for the Investor’s Meet to be cancelled stating that:
Any effort by the government to attract investors and allot 25,000 acres around Madikeri to them will affect the eco-system, “ultimately leading to the death of Cauvery river itself”. “As a stakeholder in Cauvery river and issues related to it, we will oppose the investors’ meet scheduled for Tuesday.
During the meet, CM Jagadish Shettar took the opportunity to announce that the Govt had released “400 Crores” for the development of roads in Coorg and was quoted in Deccan Herald stating:
Eco-friendly and agro based industries should be set up in Kodagu. We need to conserve environment along with carrying out development activities. We will give emphasis to industries which do not harm environment.
If industries come up in Kodagu, employment will be generated. This will check migration of youth from the district to other places in search of work.
B.B.Subbaiah, suspecting the investors meet to be a farce and a guise to grab land around Madikeri for non-agricultural activities had the following to say to TOI:
Western Ghats has been categorized as one of the nine eco-sensitive zones in the world, and any industrial activity in the region will affect it badly. “We are not against agri-based activities. But any other activity in the guise of boosting the productivity of the area will affect the eco-system, which in turn reduces rainfall,” he said, adding: “Kodagu receives an average of 120-150-inch rainfall every year. But the district has not received even half of that this year. This indicates that Kodagu is already being harmed. Any environment-unfriendly investment adds to the trouble.”
We suspect the involvement of land mafia and the farmers from other states behind this move.
Interestingly, MUDA(Madikeri Urban Development Authority) was planning to expand Madikeri town by including villages in and around Madikeri. The motive and wisdom of MUDA was questioned as the population of Madikeri Town has hardly increased. In 2001 the population of Madikeri was 32,289. In the last census(2011), the population stood at 33,415, an increase of only 1,126 persons in 10 years. Currently the area under MUDA is a mere 17 square kilometers. The move was opposed by nearly all the non-governmental organisations in Coorg.
The Local and Environmental Organisations suspect the move proposed by MUDA is to – benefit Hotels and Resort Entrepreneurs who want to set-up their ventures in and around Madikeri and are afraid that the expansion will harm the fragile eco-system of Coorg.
Coorg Wildlife Society, President, Vice-President Poonaccha was quoted in Deccan Herald stating;
Expansion of Madikeri town will destroy greenery in Madikeri. The hillocks will be damaged. Destruction of forest in the name of expansion will affect rain pattern in the district.
Mysore, Bangalore, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will get water only when Kodagu receives good rainfall. Scanty rainfall will affect the supply of drinking water.