By P.T. Bopanna
The dream of former railway minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to start a train service to Kushalanagar, the home town of his wife Datty in Kodagu, has been derailed by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka.
The Kodagu Lok Sabha member Prathap Simha said at Madikeri on Saturday that the Karnataka government was not cooperating. He said: “Sadananda Gowda had given nod for conducting a survey for Mysuru-Madikeri railway line. Accordingly, the survey was completed. But the State government now is not responding positively for laying the railway line.”
Simha noted that B. S. Yeddyurappa while he was the chief minister had agreed to carry out the railway project on cost-sharing basis. “But Siddaramaiah has written to the Centre that free land for the project cannot be given by the state government. Only about 33 per cent of the project cost will be borne by the State government,” the MP added.
EDITORIAL: It is a blessing in disguise that Siddaramaiah has decided to back out of the project. Though the previous rail surveys had concluded that the project was not viable, Sadananda Gowda had over-ruled the objections for selfish reasons and decided to revive the project. Not only that, Gowda even wanted to extend the project from Kushalanagar to Madikeri, though it involved the destruction of forests.
The Kodagu MP Simha should be faulted for pursuing the project for political reasons, even though the surveys had declared the project as unviable. The MP tried to ignore the sentiments of the local people in Kodagu as he wanted to please his voters in his Mysore Lok Sabha segments.
Though much was expected of young Simha by the people of Kodagu, he has failed to live up to the expectations. His silence over the high tension power line project involving the felling of 50,000 trees across Kodagu, has led to the belief that Simha is also one among the discredited politicians of Kodagu. Not that Simha could have stopped the power project. At least, he could have expressed his solidarity with the people by voicing his concern over the ecological damage the project would have on Kodagu.