Karnataka Forest Department refuses to use road through Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
The Karnataka Forest Department refused to authorize the construction of a road from Thodikana to Kodagu to Sullia in Dakshina Kannada district because it had to pass through Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Pattighat Reserve Forest. The department said building the road would violate the Forest Conservation Act (FCA).
The villagers of Patti and Thodikana have been calling for the construction of the road for about ten years. The road can increase the distance between Mangaluru and Talacauvery from 191 km to 131 km.
However, the road will cross over 10 hectares of forest land.
Vijaykumar Gogi, who is the Senior Chief Conservator of Forests and also the Chief Wildlife Custodian, said: “In accordance with FCA regulations, the diversion of more than one hectare of forest land for utility purposes. public is not allowed. In addition, the project should not involve the felling of more than 50 trees per hectare. The departmental forestry officer concerned will assess the minimum area of forest land necessary for the construction of the road. But we have a major obstacle here.
Another senior official from the Karnataka Forestry Department said: “It is fair of the forestry department not to allow the project as it would compromise a biodiversity rich ecosystem. Once you allow increased human intervention by developing road connectivity, the forest ecosystem will be the first casualty. In addition, there have been incidents of illegal logging of trees in the forest area by the timber mafia in collusion with the forestry authorities. This road should not be built.
The Wildlife Council and the National Wildlife Council must also authorize the construction of the road through the wildlife preserve.
In 2013, the secretary of the state forestry department wrote a letter to the Union Environment Ministry requesting permission to develop a 2 km stretch of road inside the Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. .
More recently, in May 2020, the Public Works Department and the Forestry Department erected concrete pillars and marked trees to be felled for road construction. But the project was blocked by the forestry authorities.