Addressing a press conference at Madikeri on Monday Col (retd). C.P Muthanna , President of Coorg Wild Life society (CWS) came down heavily on the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd., (PGCIL) alleging that PGCIL has been placing advertisements in various news papers regarding the 400 KV Power line through Kodagu, with malafide intent.
Col. Muthanna appealed to the residents of Kodagu not to be carried away by these advertisements since according to him PGCIL has made it a habit of making false statements and claims. He further added that during the Public Hearing on 22/8/2009, at the office of the DC in Madikeri, their representative had assured that no trees will be felled but they had gone back on their assurance and had already destroyed over 2000 trees in the forest areas and are now set to chop down more than 50,000 trees on private lands.
The PGCIL according to its assurance was supposed to clear a width of maximum 52 meters for the power line, the Col. said that he had proof of GIS survey that in the Dubare Forest Range, they have cleared upto 90 meters width in order to cut more trees and have also prepared separate roads that is not mentioned in the MOU between Karnataka Forest Department and PGCIL. CWS will be taking up the matter with the Forest Department. Since there has been a serious violation of the MOU, the project should be suspended and an enquiry must be conducted, Col Muthanna demanded. Col Muthanna speaking on behalf of CWS noted the following:
The MOU specifies that the NOC of the Maldare GP is to be obtained before commencing the work on the power line. But all the ten concerned Gram Panchyat (GP)s have passed resolutions against the power line passing through their areas.
According to the PGCIL document of 2012, the Power Line was to pass through 30 Km of Coffee estate and 20 Km of wet lands. However, they now claim that they are passing through only 12Km of Coffee estates and 28 Kms of wet lands.
The PGCIL is making statements regarding compensation package for the power lines- we need to know the compensation that has been paid to farmers outside Kodagu, in Priyapatna, etc.
Col. Muthanna appealed to the people of Kodagu – stating that there seems to be a major scam in the entire project and to not be carried away by the advertisements of PGCIL. And requested people to not accept any compensation cheques or sign any papers.
Col. Muthanna took to task P C Assainar, a timber merchant based in Siddapur who allegedly issued a statement that the environmentalists are preventing the Power Line through Kodagu and are coming in the way of development in Kodagu.
CWS contended that P C Assainar is a Timber Merchant from Kerala and has properties in both Kerala as well as Kodagu. How has he suddenly become interested in development of Kodagu?
The fact according to CWS is that he(Assainar) is looking to get hold of the 50,000 trees that will be felled if the power line passes through Kodagu. Therefore he is not interested in alternate route or underground cable.
Finally Col. Muthanna urged the indigenous communities of Kodagu that if they continue to be in a state of deep slumber, their future will be decided by the timber lobby and the timber merchants from across the border who are allegedly working in close cooperation with corrupt politicians.
Courtesy: CoffeLand News . Edited by: I.M.Bopanna