Green issues stall Kaiga-Kerala power line

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Bangalore:  The controversial proposal to draw a high tension power transmission line from Kaiga in Uttara Kannada district to Kerala via Kodagu and Mysore districts is back in focus with the State government seeking a report on the pros and cons of the proposed project of the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).

The project has gone nowhere since 2005, as there is stiff resistance from farmers and elected representatives of Kodagu and Mysore districts to draw the 400 KV double-circuit nuclear power transmission line on the grounds that it would affect farmers and lead to felling of scores of trees in Kodagu.

Work on the project has been completed on the Mysore side at Periyapatna and also on the Kerala side near the Kodagu border.

Review meeting

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Tuesday held a review meeting where the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bangalore was requested to submit a report regarding the repercussions of the proposed project of PGCIL. The meeting was attended by Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, officials, MLAs/MLCs of Kodagu district and farmers’ leaders.

155 km work completed

The project was entrusted to PGCIL to evacuate power from Kaiga 3 and 4 nuclear plants. Of the 210-km transmission line for the project, work has been completed on a stretch of 155 km.

The balance 55 km line needs to be drawn in Kodagu. The PGCIL has so far not been allowed to take up survey work.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Shivakumar said farmers and legislators of Kodagu have sought an alternative route as the present alignment will cut through reserve forest, plantations and paddy fields.

The CPRI will submit its report in 15 days. Prof Raman Sukumar from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra have been requested to assist CPRI in preparing the report. The panel will suggest alternative routes, if any, Shivakumar said.

500 MW of power

On completion of the line, the State stands to benefit as it can draw 500 MW of power from Kaiga. M C Nanaiah, the JD(S) MLC who is opposed to the project, claimed 50,000 trees will have to be cut if the present alignment is finalised. Appachu Ranjan, BJP MLA from Madikeri, wondered as to why the government was trying to hurry through the transmission line project.

He said, “When our party government was in power, we had suggested alternative routes to draw the power line. It could be drawn via H D Kote or Manandavadi to minimise cutting of trees. But the present government and the PGCIL give an impression that they are not ready to consider alternative routes.”

Ranjan said that according to environmentalists, not less than one lakh trees would have to be chopped. Scientist Sukumar had suggested against drawing the line via Kodagu, he pointed out. The PGCIL is insisting that the Kodagu-Mysore route would be the shortest, he said.

No alternative route

The work on the project began in 2005. The agreement period for the execution of the work has lapsed. Yet, no alternative route to evacuate power has been found. The question of allowing the line to pass through Kodagu does not arise, he said.

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