“Kodagu(Coorg) is our motherland and it should be protected now before it is too late.” This was the resolve of the Kodavas for the conservation of Kodagu, the source of Cauvery river.
The leaders of Cauvery Sene, environmentalists and the prominent citizens exchanged views on the steps to be taken for the conservation of Cauvery River Basin at an interaction and awareness meet organised by Kodava Samaja at Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Community Hall in Vijayanagar yesterday.
Nature lover and an engineer by profession, M.N. Appaiah said that forests in Kodagu are fast diminishing and expressed fears of an adverse impact on the catchment area of Cauvery river.
The water sources in Gangotri, the birth place of river Ganga too, are facing threat because of deforestation. Even US researchers have expressed concern over the danger. Deforestation has led to global warming, Appaiah said.
It has caused melting of snow in Gangotri thus threatening Gangotri’s water base. Similarly, deforestation is going on in Kodagu at a fast pace and this has posed a grave threat to Cauvery river basin, Appaiah explained.
Coorg Wildlife Society President Col. C.P. Muthanna (retd.), in his power-point presentation, said that the
number of Kodagu’s original inhabitants is rapidly on the decline and instead Keralites are settling down in Kodagu in large numbers. Timber mafia of Kerala is eating away Kodagu’s forests and there is no doubt that Kodagu will become another Kerala if the situation continued
, he warned.
Kodagu is faced with twin threats of deforestation and Keralisation. Hence it has become absolutely necessary for Kodavas to be united to face these threats. Kodagu is our motherland, he said and called upon everyone to protect it at least now.
He urged the Kodavas and the original inhabitants numbering about 24 to purchase land in Kodagu and discourage outsiders from buying land for commercial purpose.
Observing that illegal sand mining in Cauvery basin is another big problem that Kodagu was facing, Col. Muthanna said this also contributed to deforestation and drying up of Cauvery basin causing ecological imbalance.
Outlining the major problems that Kodagu was facing, Col. Muthanna said that rampant encroachment of forest land, opening of teak plantation, illegal entry to Kodagu by outsiders who encroach on government land, conversion of forest land for habitation, conversion of agricultural land in a large scale for commercial and residential purposes were the major problems faced by Kodagu today.
The deforestation in Cauvery catchment areas has gone out of control as illegal residential layouts and holiday resorts are mushrooming in the name of tourism, he added expressing concern that this was the main reason for the low rainfall this year.
Cauvery Sene Convenor K.A. Ravi Chengappa, who spoke, said that Cauvery Sene is relentlessly fighting against deforestation and illegal mining in Kodagu. Severe protests led to the stopping of Barapole project and currently an agitation is being carried on against the setting up of a power generation project in Abbe Falls. About 40 per cent of Madikeri will be lost if this project comes up. A PIL has been filed in the Court against the setting up of Abbe Falls and Irupu Falls Hydro-electric power generation projects, he said.
It may be recalled here that when Gundu Rao was the Chief Minister some timber merchants had the audacity to retort that soon they would make Kodagu forest a football ground.
About 500 people attended the meeting yesterday.
How to save Coorg.
• Prevent illegal encroachment.
• Prevent deforestation.
• Ban illegal sand mining in Cauvery river basin.
• Prevent Keralisation of Kodagu by Kerala migrants.
• Implement the concept of Greater Talacauvery Wildlife
• Ban felling of trees in Pushpagiri, Talacauvery, Brahmagiri Wildlife Parks.
• Prevent urbanisation of Kodagu.
• Halt conversion of agricultural land for commercial and other purposes.
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