Manipal, Oct 07, 2014: Speaking at a huge protest in front of the Udupi DC’s office here demanding justice and immediate dropping of the proposal by residents of the villages affected by the proposed tiger reserve Project, Kemaru mutt seer Esha Vitaldas Swamiji said the government should forthwith reject the project. The government and bureaucracy have kept the people in darkness over the project. The residents in the area are in a state of confusion.
The State government should respond to the letter sent by the centre seeking opinion over the project. The seer demanded the government to make its decision clear. There is no question of implementing the project which will lead to the detriment of the villages proposed in the project.
As many as 13 villages; 10 in Belthangady and three in Kundapur taluk will be affected. Majority of the people in these areas belong to the Malekudiya community and the forest continues to exist only because of them. They are conserving the vast treasure of forests in this belt. The project will only end up victimising Malekudiya community, Esha Vitaldas Swamiji cautioned the authorities.
Warns on consequences : Udupi district Malekudiya community former president Uliru Sridhar Gowda said that the people who reside in the area have a deep bond with the region as well as they have cultivation here. The elected representatives are playing with the lives of innocents. He urged the MPs and MLAs to raise their voices against the project. The Forest Act 2001 enables one to seek justice against bureaucracy and government in cases of injustice to community.
If the government still decides to go ahead with the project, a massive protest will be held by blocking of Agumbe highway, Gowda threatened. The project should be executed in a places where human habitat does not exist. The people in the area are totally against the project irrespective of the compensation package, he added.
Girijana Community leader from Chikmagalur S A Mariyappa alleged that vote bank politics has destroyed the peace of the people in the area. Both the State government and centre should clarify their stand on the burning issue. The government should immediately declare the project plans and clarify.