From: Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa (Retd), Madikeri, Kodagu

To: The Honorable Prime Minister of India, New Delhi

I write this plea on behalf of my fellow citizens of Kodagu (Coorg), a small district that at one time had been referred to the ‘Scotland of India’.

Today we find our homeland in peril because of the rapacity, and lure of filthy lucre by self-serving politicians of all hues, and greedy Mafiosi who control nefarious activities pertaining to our forests, sand-mining, land and water resources.

Kodagu is the proverbial goose that over the years has laid the ‘golden egg’ for Bangalore. This tiny district of 4100 sq kms is the source, and principal catchment area of the river Cauvery that sustains eight crore population in South Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and provides for requirement of over 600 major industries in the region.

The river is drying, and slowly dying not only because of failed monsoons but more for the unbridled rape of the land. Forests are dwindling because of timber-felling. The water-table is getting lower each year because what were underground reservoirs are depleting as more and more paddy fields are being converted into housing colonies and residential sites.

High value luxury resorts are being developed on what were once thriving coffee estates which further consume diminishing water resources. Illegal sand-mining from river beds is being done with impunity as a ‘water mafia’ thrives on the misery and hardship of those who are dependent on them for the supply of water.

All this is happening in the land of the Cauvery that once received an average of 100” of rainfall annually. Utter disregard for the environment has eaten into wildlife habitat as a result that not a day passes when there has not been a tragedy involving elephants and a hapless population. The land was given to my generation by our forefathers for safe-keeping in the interest of the future.

They designated small ‘sacred groves’ of woodland that were inviolate with a shrine dedicated to a woodland deity. These today are being encroached upon to construct the ‘five-star’ resorts referred to earlier. As it is, despite protests over 50,000 trees were felled to erect a high-tension power line to traverse the district!

A further threat to the environment is the determination with which our politicians wish to drive two railway lines through forest, coffee estates and paddy fields to connect Mysore to Kodagu and Kerala. There is also similar sinister purpose in the widening of north-south and east–west highways into four-lanes with the same devastating environment/ecology disaster that is inevitable. All these will result in the ‘desertification’ of a one-time lush and pristine landscape. Strangely, none of our politicians irrespective of party affiliation have made any comment on the impact of the various projects on the environment!

Mr. Prime Minister, you are the last bastion of hope for the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure that the specter of desertification does not become a reality. Please intervene and put an end to the proposal to construct a railway line, and to the unnecessary widening of our arterial highways. All these will have a devastating effect on the food, water and economic security of this region in South India. These ills can be thwarted by declaring the entire district as an ‘eco-sensitive zone as defined by the Environment Protection Act.


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3 Responses

  1. Suresh Panje says:

    While appreciating this move by Air Marshal K C Cariappa, fondly addressed as Nanda, I observed that he has erred at two places and both happen to be right at the top.

    First of all, he ought to have suffixed the PVSM and VSM citations against his name.

    Secondly, it is not The Honourable Narendra Modi as a person but Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.

    Yes, I mean it since the commendations earned by the personnel of our defence services are more pious and valid than addressing a politician with such prefixes like ‘Hon’ble’.

    Air Marshal ‘Nanda’ Cariappa is more honourable than this NaMo, particularly in the context of having donned the uniform and attaining 3-Star and Flag Status while in the IAF.

    As for referring the politicians and ministers as ‘Hon’ble’, I recall an incident of 1982 at Bombay. A R Antulay was invited to be the chief guest at a seminar hosted by a forum of corporates. The host kept on praising the CM Antulay to the skies that could be a lesson in sycophancy.

    All said and done, after a hearty lunch in the conference hall of Oberoi’s, the news came like a greased lightening. That Justice Lentin of Bombay High Court had found Antulay guilty on several charges of nepotism and corruption.

    At this, with my plate of dessert, I approached the host who two hours earlier was praising this Antulay as to what are his views. And believe me, he had no answer.

    That conference happened to be one involving the builders and developers!!!

  2. Subbaiah K P says:

    While refering to the prime minister of the country, we respect the chair, not the politician behind or sitting on the chair! As an Air Marshal, he has respected the chair that he would have reported to.

    Let’s please not draw flak on that!

    A word of caution from a person with such decree would only add value to all our sentiments to the land that we so profoundly talk about.

    Thanks Mr. Air Marshal, we are with you on this!

    Subbaiah K P

  3. Sundar Muthanna says:

    His father Field Marshall K.M. Cariappa is considered the father of the Indian Army. Air Marshal is a worthy son who is doing his duty as a true soldier. I hope this awakens the other men from the forces to step up and take responsibility.

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