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DH News Service DANDELI (UK
dt), Feb 12
“Kali is one of the most exploited rivers in the country with six major dams across it which have destroyed over 1 lakh hectare of forests. Mining, logging and industrial activities have also taken their toll in the area, leaving a indelible scar on the nature. Whatever is left in the valley must be conserved though it is practically impossible to undo the damage already done to the fragile eco-system of the region,” Mr Pandurang Hegde of the Parisara Samrakshana Kendra of Sirsi said.
Mr Pandurang Hegde has undertaken a ‘Padayatra’ along the banks of the river from Karwar, where the Kali river converges into the Arabian sea, to Diggi - Kusavali where it originates.
The ‘Padayatra’ was flagged off at Karwar on February 2 by noted environmentalist Sundar-lal Bahuguna of the Chipko fame.
Mr Hegde, who has undertaken a similar exercise 20 years ago, narrated the changes he observed in the last two decade while walking alongside the river.The Kali project and the Kaiga Nuclear Power Generation schemes have drastically altered the landscape of the valley.
Mangrove forests have been destroyed in the region and the fish population has declined drastically. The backwaters of the hydel project dams have marooned dozens of villages and communication links have been snapped. Villagers near Kaiga Atomic Plant are living under constant fear as the officials are highly secretive in their operation,” he explained.
The region should be developed without any further damage to the eco-system by utilising local resources and talents, he added.