Mangaluru, 9 April 2015: The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has issued an ultimatum to all states along the Western Ghats to submit their final reports on demarcation of ecologically-sensitive areas (ESAs) in their respective areas as per the high-level working group, headed by K Kasturirangan, by the month-end. But, Karnataka unlikely meet the deadline.
The MoEF directive came in the wake of states, except Kerala, failing to submit their reports.
The Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had earlier this week in NewDelhi said that his government will not take a decision in a hurry.
The Karnataka government has appointed two committees to look into the matter and the state yet to prepare a cadastral maps of ESA villages along with colour-coded maps, demarcating the residential areas, water bodies, sandy grounds, farmlands, plantations, forests and hilly areas in each village.
The Kasturirangan Panel had recommended a ban on development activities in 60,000 sq km ecologically-sensitive area spread over six states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The report declared 1,580 villages in and around Western Ghats in Karnataka as ecologically sensitive areas, but the State Cabinet has decided to include only 850 villages by dropping rest.
The ministry also said in the directive that it would take an independent decision on demarcation of ESA boundaries if the states failed to submit their reports by then.
Goa (83%) has the highest percentage of ESA taluks, followed by Karnataka (46.15%) and Kerala (44.15%).
Draft notification declaring Ecologically Sensitive Area in Western Ghats in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu was published when UPA-2 in power. But, Forest, Environment and Ecology department of Karnataka had developed a cold feet on the issue and failed to create awareness in the notified region ecological benefits of the initiative.