Udipi; August 20: Few years ago the thick greenery of Kundel forest and valley used to greet the visitors of Manipal while driving from Udupi. But now its Gone!. Gone for ever!!. Now Manipal means just luxurious buildings, branded shops & Malls. In the name of globalization, urbanization people are hurting the nature by chopping the trees mercilessly and even destroying very root of the forest & valley which existed from time immemorial. By doing so the whole family of trees, birds, reptiles & monkeys have either been killed or fled away as their very existence is threatened by blatant exhibition of the Man’s richness & its monstrous machines.
Yes. Years before in the proximity of Kundel forest, while the people were moving around, one could see Pea-cocks, monkeys, reptiles, birds and animals and other different types of animals and birds in the forest. But now, instead of bird’s twitter sounds we hear vehicles harsh horns, instead of cool breeze from the trees and plants we inhale vehicles poisonous smoke. In rainy season, two eyes were not enough to enjoy the beauty of valley’s water falls but now the same water is allowed to flow through underground pipe and on the top of it the wise, selfish and greedy humans are constructing entertainment hubs and shopping malls much to the dismay of nature lovers and poor co- existing animal & plant kingdom.
Prof(Dr) N. A. Madhyastha, an environmental expert expressed his unhappiness over the destruction of Kundel forest valleys. ‘Now Kundel forest has become concrete forest. People might have got attractive price offers, that is why even Mutts have sold their green property. They could have saved this beautiful forest. There were rare species of animals and birds and trees and plants. Due to forest’s destruction, temperature has shown increase . As nowadays monasteries (Mutts) don’t want fire woods and now the same has been replaced with cooking gas. It is very unfortunate that due to this forests have been sold and now being destroyed’.
Prof . Dr Kiran Acharya, KMC hospital, Manipal shared his Kundel forest-valleys experience thus..
“‘Kundel Kadu was thick and scary in our childhood. We were scared to venture in alone. While cycling to Manipal it was a favorite rest spot. We used enjoy sight and sound of variety of birds, periodic sighting of monkeys and sound of a rivulet in the depth of the valley. With my friend Gurudas Shenoy (son of the great artist G S Shenoy- who had the only house at Laxmindranagar in those days), we used to occasionally enter the Kundelkad and do watercolour paintings.(I have enclosed a painting) Occasionally our scouts troop used to hike in the Kundelkad as well. It was common for herpetologists to rescue snakes from Udupi and release them at Kundelkad…
“We felt very bad when once for paryaya firewood requirement, part of the forest was cleared. Our father explained the “temple forest concept” and informed us that it will grow back within 4 – 5 years. It did grew back. Sadly now it is gone forever. I can`t tell my daughter or son it will grow back…..
“As per Mark Twain`s famous quote “Buy land, they don’t make it anymore!”Land is precious.Mathas especially Brahmin mathas which have lost huge tract of land because of land reforms act will not get land from government in future. Temple and mathas are institutions are for generations hence property especially precious land should not be sold or leased. Mathas should find a way to get revenue by other means. After all swamiji and mathas should lead a simple greedless life within their means and should not dispose off property as if there is no tomorrow.
I am also surprised at the selective environmental activism of the intelligent Udupi people! they protest when deforestation takes place in far away land…but when little breathing spaces like Kundelkad disappear there is hardly any word of protest…”
According to Dr. Ravindranath Shanbhag, founder, Human rights Protection foundation; ” Kundel forest valley was like lungs of the Udupi -Manipal. But now those lungs have been chopped off as a result of deforestation. I don’t know how the forest department has permitted or allowed to cut & uproot those trees?. They were not supposed to give permission to destroy forest; plants’ he exclaimed.
‘ I am the first person to oppose the destruction of environment, but now it is too late to talk on the subject as the people have already purchased the land and using it. So raising the issue now gives only room for friction, opined Sri Pejavar Vishveshwaratheertha Swamy.
Prof.Prabhakar Shastry, one of the occupants of the Premier enclave apartment, adjacent to Kundel forest expressed his sadness and disappointment over the destruction of natural beauty of the valley. ‘ We have started living in this flat to enjoy the natural panoramic scene of the Kundel forest valley but within a year of our occupation, the complete herd of different types of bird’s family destroyed due to sudden excavation of the entire valley by uprooting very old trees and plants that scared the whole animal & bird kingdom of the area that becomes suddenly extinct’
According to Urja founder member Prof.Divya Hegde, a Manipal resident ‘ In younger age we used to enjoy the trip from Indrali to Manipal due to thick forest, serenity of the area’ . ‘ At the start of road widening work there was no permission to cut the trees. But gradually trees started vanishing!. Due to this, there is a big impact on environment thereby resulting variation in rains. Earlier Swamiji’s of the mutts never allowed cutting the woods of the forest from Kadiyali to Manipal except during Paryaya but now it is hardly difficult to believe that they themselves allowed to uproot the centuries old temple forest’. ” There were several Ayurveda herbs, plants in this forest with medicinal properties but now it has been completely destroyed for monitory gains ‘ . If it is so, where the money has gone? Nobody knows!!’
” This forest belongs to Shiroor Mutt and woods were being used for Mutt’s use . If the Swamiji’s don’t take any preventive steps to stop cutting the forest and construction of the buildings’ then what common people can do? Asks Ambika Nayak, a Urja member.
Wild animals which used to live in forest are now started migrating to the near by colony in search of shelter and cobra that are supposed to be in the forest are entering the premise of KMC due to the destruction of environment and selfish nature of the human beings!. Man himself is digging his own graveyard due to his lust and greed.
It is well known fact that Udupi district is the place of intelligent and wise people but when the environment is being ruined, why the nature lovers, wise people are keeping silent and watching as if nothing has happened?!
Does the license to chop this thick forest and to build deluxe buildings for the recreation, comforts of the affluent people is promoted and guarded by some influential group?
In matter of time due to upcoming International cine complex, commercial buildings and malls moving population in the area will increase pollution and piling of garbage resulting in suffocation of the whole valley .
Can we expect these promoters of globalization and urbanization allot & develop suitable areas for animals and birds re breeding amid these concrete jungle to regain the originality and glory of Kundel forest?. Yes they Can!
Come On Do It!