December 8: A large tusker was sighted in Shiradi Ghats on the National Highway (NH-48), little downstream of the Kempholey Mini Hydel Project Power House on 05-12-2009 at 5-45 PM. The elephant was sighted on the Highway while returning from Hongadahalla, after meeting the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) members from the Central Government’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, who had come on an inspection to the forests of Shiradi Ghats, to decide whether environmental clearance should be granted to the proposed 200 MW Gundia Hydel Project.
Tusker sighted in Shiradi Ghat-NH-48 at Kempholey Mini Hydel Project site
Shiradi Ghats has been severely damaged in the recent years due to the destruction and submersion of the rain forests caused due to the establishment of the 18MW Kempholey Mini Hydel Project and the construction of Kadmane Mini Hydel Project upstream. 25 more mini-hydel projects are proposed to be setup in the catchment area of River Nethravathi in the dense forests of the Western Ghats in the coming years.
The sighting of this lone tusker in Shiradi Ghats has given a new hope to wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists and has motivated their efforts to save the elephant habitat and migratory corridors in these dense rainforests. While the damages caused to the rainforests due to formation of the railway line, national highway and the HPCL pipeline might be irreversible; conservationists feel they definitely have hope to work towards stopping the ill conceived location of the development projects like the Gundia 200 MW Hydel project, 25 mini hydel projects and the proposed new transmission line from Nagarjuna Power Project in the catchment area of River Nethravathi within Western Ghats.
Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation
Rathna Apts., Kadri, Mangalore – 575 002
Ph: 0824 2212890