Speaking about the great importance of preserving nature and rural life, President of Western Ghat Task Force Anantha Hegde Ashisara" />
Mangalore, March 17: Speaking about the great importance of preserving nature and rural life, President of Western Ghat Task Force Anantha Hegde Ashisara suggested the formation of life preserving committees at the level of the Gram Panchayath on March 17, Wednesday.
He inaugurated a workshop on conservation of fishing in Coastal and Malnad regions. A number of scientists, government officials, NGOs, representatives of the fishermen community, and others participated in this programme, which was jointly organized by the Karnataka Forest Department, Mangalore Circle, and the Western Ghat Task Force.
Mr. Ashisara said that he visited Pilikula Nisargadhama that morning. He expressed regret that parks and museums have to be built in order to preserve life and culture instead of actually experiencing life along the coast of Karnataka and the Western Ghats. Speaking about the rapidly declining level of water in River Nethravathi, he said that the cause for this is the unnecessary felling of trees in the Western Ghats, owing to which even the estuaries are filled with silt.
He urged everybody to cooperate in the protection and preservation of nature and expressed his regret that, despite a large sum of money being spent on the Fisheries College and its representatives being called to discuss fishermen’s problems at Karwar, only an article was sent. He hoped that the participants of the workshop would seriously consider the problems of the local people and devise ways and means to protect coastal life and tradition so that the government could take the right decision. A report of the workshop will enable the chief minister to announce the government’s decision after the current Assembly session, he said.
Mr. B Keshav Kundar, the president of the Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha, was vociferous in his speech about the problems of the fishing community. He said that the polluting industries had laid their pipelines in the Coastal Regulatory Zone despite their protests. Although the industries claim that they are not emptying effluents into the sea, effluents comprising chemicals and warm water are being let into the sea, he alleged. He said that CRZ notification prevents the members of the fishing community to build new houses and alleged that the government does not spend the funds meant for the fishing community for their welfare.
Conservator of Forests, Mangalore Circle, Mr. S Shanthappa, said that forests and oceans are not only beautiful, but also constitute a nation’s natural wealth. He said that the fishing population is declining, adding that life is uncertain for fishermen. He urged people to learn how to use limited resources.
Dr. Keshava Korse, member of the Western Ghat Task Force, said that we should be concerned about social welfare. Everybody in this world, and not just the scientists, are responsible for conservation, he said. Recalling the past, he said that live telecasts about the necessity to preserve the Western Ghats were shown 30 years ago. This is no longer the case because people have lost the will to live together or unite. He stressed the need for effective networking. Expressing regret that educated people have become indifferent, he lauded the enlightened nature of traditional fishermen and said that one must consult them.
Former Registrar of Mangalore University Dr. K Sundar Naik, who has been associated with the Western Ghat Task Force for the past two years, presided over the programme and said that society can develop only through eco-development clubs and village committees. He said that a lot of wealth has already been lost by destroying the Western Ghats and expressed hope that, at least in future, the Ghats will be preserved. Mentioning the fact that the state has a coastline of 300kms, he informed his listeners that mangroves are being grown in Honnavara, Karwar, Kundapura, and Mangalore. He stressed the need to rehabilitate fishermen and suggested the adoption of sophisticated technology so that fishing can be easily done.