KARNATAKA GOVERNMENT APPPROVE HUBBALLI-ANKOLA RAIL PROJECT WHICH HAS BEEN REJECTED BY ALL

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THE HUBBALLI-ANKOLA RAIL PROJECT - A RAIL PROJECT THAT IS NEITHER REQUIRED NOR THERE IS ANY DEMAND FROM INDUSTRIES OR CITIZENS - HAS BEEN APPROVED BY CHIEF MINISTER B S YEDDYURAPPA ONLY TO BENEFIT POLITICIANS WITHOUT SHOWING ANY CARE OR CONCERN FOR THE DETERIORATING ENVIRONMENT OF THE STATE.

THIS PROJECT WILL SOUND THE DEATH KNELL FOR THE STATE’S PRECARIOUS ECOLOGY AS ALSO AFFECT THE CITIZENS IN TERMS OF HEALTH AND AVAILABILITY OF NATURAL RESOURCES. EVEN AS THE COUNTRY STRIVES AND STRUGGLES TO FACE COVID-19 WHICH IS AS A RESULT OF WILDLIFE DESTRUCTION – THE CM AND ITS MINISTERS FIND TIME TO APPROVE SUCH A PROJECT.

TWO POLITICIANS – BJP LEGISLATOR AND FORMER CM JAGDISH SHETTAR AND A CONGRESSMAN WHO HAS SERVED AS INDUSTRY MINISTER OF KARNATAKA FOR SEVERAL DECADES - R V DESHPANDE ATTENDED THE KARNATAKA STATE WILDLIFE BOARD MEETING ON 20.3.20 ONLY TO FORCE THE CM TO APPROVE THE PROJECT DESPITE BEING NON-MEMBERS AND HAVING NO STANDING WHATSOEVER.

WHAT KIND OF GOVERNMENT IS THE CM RUNNING THAT HE ALLOWS NON-MEMBERS TO ATTEND THE BOARD MEETING?

WHEN IT COMES TO DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WHICH BENEFITS THE LEGISLATORS OF ALL PARTIES – CITIZENS PLEASE SEE NOTE - HOW THEY COME AND GET TOGETHER TO DESTROY THE STATE’S VERDANT FORESTS AND WILDLIFE ONLY TO FILL THEIR COFFERS.

REMEMBER the YETTINAHOLE PROJECT which both Congress and BJP governments took up despite opposition from environmentalists and promised to bring water to the parched regions of south east Karnataka. WELL THOUSANDS OF CRORES have been spent but no water will be coming to either Chikkaballapur or Bengaluru as everybody knows THERE IS NO WATER IN NETRAVATHI.

BEWARE! AS ONCE AGAIN the state government is planning to bring SHARAVATHI WATERS to BENGALURU.

Citizens should be pro-active and question the government about such disastrous projects with wasteful expenditure which will PERMANENTLY DESTORY the ECOLOGY OF KARNATAKA and change the climatic patterns in the state and country.

The HUBBALLI-ANKOLA RAIL PROJECT is one such project which will spell disaster as this involves destruction of nearly 600 hectares of verdant forest lands in UTTAR KANNADA district. This will entail felling of nearly TWO LAKH TREES as also destruction of CATCHMENT AREAS of Kali river.

Even as such when the RAILWAY department CONDUCTED the survey for this project for about 65 kilometers – the RAILWAY ENGINEERS AND EMPLOYEES destroyed VAST STRETCHES of forests and felled massive timber trees to build their houses and other properties. And once these people and OUR POLITICIANS are allowed inside virgin forests – can you imagine the mayhem and destruction over and above the approved number of hectares in the KALI VALLEY.

The KALI VALLEY is the catchment area for River KALI and when the rail alignment passes through these regions - what will happen cannot be imagined. Thousands of FISHERMEN and other connected sectors will lose their livelihood if this project is implemented. Nobody has any idea how many millions of years it takes for a forest to form - no amount of afforestation can bring back what nature has built.

Right from the FIRST KILOMETER - the Hubballi-Ankola rail project aligned across thick and varied forests of Western Ghats spells doom for Karnataka in terms of disturbance to habitat and water resources and of course, the unique and endemic flora and fauna. Now why has the project WHICH HAS BEEN REJECTED MANY MANY TIMES by every state and central departments has been approved by the state government? This aspect our citizens should think and ponder.

Now when one looks at the various documents/studies/technical reports/court directions/standing committee advisories - it clearly reveals and shows vested interests and various harmful and interested lobbies working against the interests of the state which is home to 6o per cent of the Western Ghats – the World’s Biodiversity Hotspot. How come IISc - the lone government agency - recommend such a project with mitigation measures is highly questionable?

Now at one of the crucial times when world is facing adverse ‘Global Climatic Changes’ and is striving to bring various stakeholders on board – the state government has approved a project which will affect land patterns and disappearance of many a wildlife species and kill sources of water – forest streams, tributaries and other wetlands in the WESTERN GHATS.

WE APPEAL TO THE CITIZENS OF KARNATAKA TO COME FORWARD AND EXPRESS THEIR OPPOSITION TO SUCH A DISASTROUS PROJECT AND SEE TO IT THAT THIS RAIL PROJECT IS NEVER IMPLEMENTED and protect nature which belongs to one and all and not just the politicians.