“Creeping land conversion in Kodagu will kill the Cauvery River”

The government should study the uniqueness of each district and make laws: Kodagu Samrakshana Vedike

Mysore/Mysore: Concerned by the recent announcement by the Minister of Revenue, R. Ashoka, stating that conversions of agricultural land in Karnataka would be approved within three days and that the required amendments would be made to the Land Revenue Act of Karnataka, the Kodagu Samrakshana Vedike said it would be a disaster for Kodagu, the main watershed of the Cauvery River.

Addressing a press conference at Pathrakarthara Bhavan in the city this morning, Kodagu Chairman Samrakshana Vedike Chottekmada Rajeev Bopaiah said the government’s move would destroy hilly terrain and environmentally sensitive regions such as Kodagu.

“Large-scale land conversion in Kodagu for sites and developments will bring large numbers of out-of-state people to Kodagu and will put extreme pressure on drinking water and water for agriculture and industry. It will kill the Cauvery River which is a lifeline for Karnataka,” he said.

Accompanied by Vedike members Colonel (ret’d) Cheppudira P. Muthanna, Jammada Ganesh Ayanna and Annira Harish Madappa, Rajeev Bopaiah said the High Court had suspended the land conversion process in Kodagu, stating that the certificate of No Objection (NOC) for land conversions issued by the committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner is not valid for approving general land conversions.

Burning issues ignored; focus on new routes: requesting the support of Kodagu MPs Appachu Ranjan, KG Bopaiah, MP Pratap Simha and MLCs Veena Achaiah and Suja Kushalappa, the Vedike appealed to them to save Cauvery’s birthplace from destruction due to rampant land conversions. “Unfortunately, hot issues in Kodagu like human-animal conflict, land conversion, Pouthi Khata and electricity are ignored by elected officials and they are only interested in developing new highways, further destroying the landscape,” they said.

The Vedike demanded that the government act immediately to avoid the destruction of Kodagu. “Unfortunately, many politicians and political leaders are involved in land conversion in Kodagu and DCs who resist land conversion attempts are transferred within three months and DCs who act favorably towards politicians are brought in,” Rajeev alleged. Bopaiah.

“We have seen how Kodagu was ravaged by floods in 2018 and 2019 spurred by rampant urbanization and infrastructure development to promote tourism. The sale of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes will have devastating consequences as reckless urbanization has already caused a negative impact on the environment, as evidenced by floods and landslides,” he said.

On water: “The government’s decision allows any individual, industrialist or real estate player to approach farmers directly and buy land. This is not just about land in Kodagu but it will also affect water and its implications will be felt in the downstream region of the state like Mysuru and Mandya affecting food security and agriculture added Rajeev Bopaiah.

The Vedike demanded that instead of passing statewide land laws, the government should study the uniqueness of each district and develop laws based on the local environment and ecology. “We will take our movement to the next level which will include a boycott of the elections,” Vedike warned.