By P.T. Bopanna
This became evident after industries minister R.V. Deshpande declared in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that Karnataka was not in favour of the Mysuru-Thalasherry railway line that passes through Kodagu.
However, the minister said the Railways had cleared the 110-km Mysuru-Kushalnagar-Madikeri project. Survey work with respect to the Mysuru-Kushalnagar stretch had been completed and the survey report too had been finalized.
It may be recalled that Mysuru-Kushalanagar-Madikeri railway line which was shelved earlier for being economically unviable, was revived by Union Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda while he was heading the railway ministry in 2014. He wanted to bring the railway network to Kushalanagar, his wife Daty’s hometown.
Subsequently, the project was pursued by Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha, who sensed a political opportunity to woo the vote banks in the Hunsur-Periyapatna belt.
He has been apparently misleading the people that the railway line would end at Kushalanagar and would not be extended to Madikeri, even though the railway ministry had cleared the project up to Madikeri.
Simha who is aware of the serious environment damage from the Mysuru-Kushalanagar-Madikeri railway line, is seriously pursuing the project with the railway ministry in Delhi which is controlled by the BJP government.
The people of Kodagu need an assurance from Simha that he will not support the extension of railways to Kodagu.
The proposed ‘Save Kodagu’ meeting planned on February 18 at Mysuru, should bring pressure on Simha against bringing railway connectivity to Kodagu.