Activists to go online to rally support

The government ban on protests to prevent large congregations in a bid to combat the pandemic, has forced environmental activists in the city to conceive alternative forms to reach out to the public.

The issue pertains to the growing concern over the proposed heli-tourism project which entails clearing a large number of trees to pave way for a new helipad opposite the Lalitha Mahal Palace.

Officials in the Forest Department have confirmed that they have received application from the Tourism Department seeking permission for clearing the area of vegetation and trees.

Peeved by the development environmentalists and social activists wanted to hold a protest to register their strong opposition to the new helipad as it entailed felling of scores of trees.

But with the State government having banned all forms of protest as a measure to combat COVID-19, the activists have decided to launch an online campaign.

The campaign to save trees will also entail a campaign to save Chamundi Hills from โ€œdevelopment worksโ€™โ€™. For, Minister for Tourism C.P. Yogeshwar, who is also the Minister for Ecology and Environment, has announced infrastructure to promote helitourism in front of the Lalitha Mahal Palace at the Chamundi foothills while he has also expressed his intent to revive the ropeway project to promote tourism.

Both the projects have drawn the ire of environmentalists but they cannot take to the streets in view of the ban on protests.

The campaign will go online in due course and the imperative of saving the trees and the necessity to shore up the green cover for Mysuru will be highlighted.

Meanwhile, the survey to assess the number of trees that needs to be cleared has begun and the authorities say that there are mainly shrubs and eucalyptus trees on the land identified for the new helipad. Notwithstanding the nature of the vegetation, a public hearing has to be held to seek objections, if any, said the authorities.


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