By P.T. Bopanna
Is Kodagu MP Pratap Simha engaged in a ‘double game’ by playing the role of a savior?
While opposing the Mysuru-Thalassery railway line, Simha has not said much about the Mysuru-Kushalanagar-Madikeri line. In fact he has been working hard on the Mysuru-Kodagu rail link when the people of Kodagu have opposed any kind of rail link.
There is a move apparently backed by the timber lobby to build public opinion that railway line is proposed only up to Kushalanagar. The fact remains the Mysuru-Madikeri railway line was listed in the Railway Budget 2016-17 under “new line” category at an estimated cost of Rs 667 crore and the techno-economic survey is complete. There is no mention of not extending the line from Kushalanagar to Madikeri.
Simha who recently met railway minister Piyush Goyal, later announced that no approval had been given to the Mysuru-Thalassery railway line.
But the fact remains that the question of approval at this moment does not arise because Mysuru-Thalassery line is only in the preliminary stage.
Several environmentalists began crying hoarse about sanction being given for the Mysuru-Thalassery line following ‘misleading’ media reports.
It looks like the whole thing was a smoke-screen created to push the Mysuru-Kushalanagar-Madikeri railway line.
There have been reports that the railways have taken up construction of an office at Madikeri. Why would they build an office if they do not have plans for linking Madikeri?
The immediate threat is the railway link sought to be given to Kushalanagar which is a pet project of Simha as he wants to please the people of the Hunsur-Periyapatna belt, part of his Lok Sabha constituency.