Who wants a 4-lane road to Chamundi Hills?

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The overzealous minister in charge of Mysore district, S.A. Ramdas, has announced that he wants to convert the road from Mysore leading upto Chamundi hills into a four-lane one—apart from constructing a shopping complex atop Mysore’s largset immovable asset.

This is the kind of announcement of “development works” that has the construction crowd all keyed up.

But….

But, the question to ask is: do we really need a four-lane road and a shopping complex atop the lovely hills?

As it is, there is no space for widening the road in Chamundi Hills. A four-lane road can only come if they cut into the hills (like they have in Bellary), level the place, and asphalt it. Still, that will not answer the question: Is there a need for it? Will it not destroy the ecological balance?

There are many botanical species that have existed for hundreds if not thousands of years on Chamundi hills. Further, the place is home to various species of birds and insects. They all play their part in maintaining the sanctity of the place and adding to its infinite beauty.

Moreover, there is the question of wildlife. The space for wild animals is being constantly encroached upon by human greed and avarice forcing them to come out in search of food. And Mysore has in the last couple of years, seen wild animals coming into the City and playing havoc, resulting in the loss of lives.

Do we want to get rid of all this in the name of a four-lane road?

And what purpose is it supposed to achieve: that we drive at Formula One speeds to pay homeage to Mahishasura?

The overzealous minister says there is also a plan for constructing a shopping complex at the hill.

Is there such a shortage of shopping arcades in Mysore City that we should set up one more in the sky? And, pray, who are these people who come to Chamundi hills, not to enjoy its beauty, not to partake in its divinity, but to swipe their cards and shop silly trinkets?

When space is at such a constraint on the hills, surely there is nothing unpatriotic in suggesting that the overzealous minister’s emphasis should be on maintaining the heritage value of the hills and the temple?

Before the ghastly plan materializes for which the efforts are already under way, surely there is also nothing unpatriotic in suggesting that the chief minister steps in, reviews the hare-brained idea with NGOs and environmental experts, and buries it six feet deep?

Photograph: Mounted police take a stroll on their horses atop Chamundi Hills (courtesy Shrinidhi Hande)

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