The Cauvery river, which flows through southern Karnataka and then into Tamil Nadu, has been a point of conflict between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for decades. Its water was originally divided according to nearly century-old agreements, but over the years, both states have indulged in a blame game over the amount of water to be used for irrigation.
The source of Cauvery river is Kodagu district, where it originates. The district is also the principal catchment area of the river and accounts for over 70 per cent of the total inflow into KRS (Krishna Raga Sagar) dam in Mysuru.
However, Mysuru-Kodagu railway line is set to endanger the fragile ecosystem of Kodagu district.
It is because for this railway line, high tension power transmission lines are being laid across the pristine evergreen forest of western Ghats, Coorg, from Kaiga to Kozhikode, which will pass through the thick evergreen forests of Brahmagiri and Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuaries.
The proposed railroad, which has been approved by the government, will require cutting of nearly 50,000 trees in the region. Axing down trees in such a huge number will disturb the fragile eco-system, displace thousands people and cause irrecoverable damage to the people who have made this place their home from last thousands of years.
Axing thousands of trees in Western Ghats would majorly affect rainfall in Kodagu and thus Cauvery’s water flow, ultimately affecting drinking water supply to major cities including Mysore and Bangalore.
Cheppudira Muthanna – President, Coorg Wildlife Society, feels there is no need to connect the area through railroad.
“The food, water and economic security of Southern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu hinges largely on the Cauvery River. In Karnataka, these regions include the citizens and farmers of Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya and Coorg. And in Tamil Nadu it covers the districts of Salem, Erode, Trichy, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam,” a petition filed to save Kodagu from the railroad project states.
“Simply put, no trees in Coorg means no River Cauvery. Every tree holds 30,000 to 40,000 litres of water, its roots release water underground to form tiny streams, and its leaves give off moisture into the air to create humidity that invites rain from passing clouds,” the petition adds.
“The track if executed will be done at a cost Rs. 1800 crore, the returns are far too small to justify this large expense. This money can be used for more urgent and important purposes in the country.”