Ballari: A US agency report says the Indian army is set to strengthen its armory further with Challakere-made weapons in the coming years, but armymen are sure to lose the Challakere-made ‘kambalis’ or woolen blankets.
For many years, soldiers of Indian Army posted at the world’s highest battle ground, Siachen – were supplied with the blankets made in Challakere. With premier science institutes at the proposed science and research hub at Kudapura in Challakere starting to raise their compound walls, many shepherds are giving up their cattle as they have lost their grazing grounds.
Shepherds contend that the science cluster comprising Indian Institute of Science, Indian Space Research Organisation, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Defence Research & Development Organisation, is coming up on 8,000 acres, of Amrut Mahal Kaval or grazing land. After many agitations since 2011 against diversion of the land for the science hub by villagers and green activists, National Green Tribunal, Chennai had on 27th August 2014 given the green signal to the military establishments on the condition that right to water and access for villagers should be allowed.
But, the ground reality speaks otherwise. “For the last three year farmers were not permitted to take their livestock for grazing. The areas are barricaded defying the orders of NGT. We are forced to buy fodder from Andhra Pradesh and many farmers are selling their livestock due to this. At least 50% of production of Challakere blankets has come down. The establishments which are coming up, are expected to be involved in weapon testing which could have an adverse effect on the population of 70 villages which are located near the project sites,” said Karianna D from Challakere.
"Compound walls are being built, we're not allowed to go inside. Where else do we graze our animals? It's the only land where there's some green grass," said H Palaiah, a shepherd. He said he sold 150 sheep and goats last month as grazing has became difficult. Another concern s that after the construction of boundary walls, worship places may not be accessible.
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