ISSUE: Proposed railway link through Kodagu
Problem and Implications
The proposed railway link from Mysore-Kushalnagar will pass through the forests of Somwarpet Subdivision, which is notorious for its high levels of Human Elephant Conflict in the country. The railway link will only add to the woes of the people and the elephants. Calf elephants will find it difficult to clamber up the steep rail embankments, further restricting the movement of entire sub-herds that are struggling to cope with fragmentation of their habitat. It will also compound the destruction and degradation of evergreen forest along the western side of Coorg.
Former railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced a line survey to process the long pending railway link between Mysore-Thalassery in February, 2010. But she faced stiff resistance from locals and environmentalists as this might result in destruction of Coorg’s wildlife habitat and livelihoods.
Role of CWS
In a recently conducted meeting, the PCCF (Principal Chief Conservator of Forests) was briefed about how the height of the railway embankment will result in the loss of thousands of trees in the forests and have adverse effect on corridors used by elephants and other wildlife for movement. The PCCF has agreed to look into the matter once the route of the proposed railway line is confirmed.