Bengaluru, August 9:- The retired High Court Judge Justice M F Saldanha has written a letter to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy with regard to destruction of environment in Cauvery Basin in Kodagu District.
In his letter to the Chief Minister, Justice Saldanha has said, “I am writing to you (CM) representing a very valid grievance on behalf of the right-thinking citizens of Karnataka and more particularly on behalf of the Kodavas. As a dedicated environmentalist, I was totally horrified to see the amount of devastation in the Cauvery Basin. Huge areas have been totally denuded due to the felling of not lakhs, but crores of trees in that area. My enquiries indicate that this has happened in collusion with the Forest Department and what is more disturbing is the fact that I was also told that it is the ‘Kerala Timber Mafia’ and not the local people which has been systematically destroying the tree cover in Kodagu District over the last few decades. These people induce the estate owners and the government officials and indiscriminately fell the trees and transport the timber to Kerala.”
“One of the very important aspects highlighted by the Wildlife Society of Coorg is the fact that every tree harbours a lot of life from birds to bees and the like and when a tree is mercilessly chopped down all of this life is killed because this form of life is territorial and it cannot shift or migrate to another tree or another area because the life there will not tolerate it. The ecological damage is immense and the world is today fighting furiously to replace whatever has been lost. The experts have pointed out that unless all this green cover is immediately replaced that it will totally destroy the Cauvery Basin. Even this year where the rains have been good so far, because of the lack of green cover, the Cauvery water has brought down lakhs of tonnes of soil, causing irreplaceable permanent damage to the area. Not only is the water polluted but all of this has moved into the catchment areas of which the storage capacity is reduced and I do not understand how those areas will be dredged at what cost and what will be done with that huge quantity of silt. This will also clog the hydroelectric turbines and seriously affect the generation of power. It is necessary that the Government sets up a High-Level Committee to examine this issue and that immediate corrective action is taken,” says Justice Saldanha.
“The first step that must be ordered by you as the Chief Minister is that before the rains conclude the Forest Department must plant saplings in all the areas that have been deforested and maintain them so that the damage can be undone to some extent. It is very fundamental that you order this step immediately,” Justice Saldanha says in his letter. -KK