Madikeri, Dec 10, 2014: The State-level expert committee (SLEC) which visited Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts to gather opinion on the recommendations of Kasturirangan report has sought three months time from the government so that people may be gain the necessary in puts and express their opinion on the report. It is confirmed that Committee Members Brijesh Kumar Deekshit and Vipin Singh have forwarded the report to Karnataka Biodiversity Board Chairperson R N M Sahay.
Western Ghat region is spread over 10 districts and the government has formed a committee under the leadership of Karnataka Biodiversity Board Chairperson R N M Sahay, to gather the opinions of the people on the implementation of Kasturirangan report. The committee comprises of eight members. Teams consisting 23members have visited different districts to gather people’s opinion.
Accordingly, the team which had visited Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts has submitted its report to the committee Chairperson. The committee head will submit a comprehensive report to the State government, after receiving the reports from other teams. In the report, the committee members have made the observation that the people have not been aware of the pros and cons of the report as the report was not translated in to the local language.
No proper information has been provided and the doubts of the people have not been addressed, as mentioned by majority of the people from the three districts. The team said it was important to interpret the report in local languages and to make available it to the people, especially those who fall within the purview of Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA). The recommendations of Kasturirangan report needs to be discussed in Gram Sabha level. The process needs a minimum of three months duration, the team has said in its report.
Recommendations : The Kasturirangan Committee report needs to be explained to the people of ESA villages in the local language in detail and in a consultative or discussion mode. The greatest possible publicity needs to be given to it and free flow of ideas, settlement of doubts, explanation of each and every term (residual toxicity term could not be understood, hence people have the erroneous fear of not being able to use insecticides) etc needs to be done.
Countering misinformation already done will be more important than giving new information. People have been wrongly, but convincingly told, of the plethora of difficulties that the implementation of recommendations will create. That will all need to be dispelled. Further time of at least 3 months should be ideal to be asked for. If this is not done, it seems that the recommendations will be treated as forced on the people and they may not be implemented at all. Even if implemented, it will be against the will of people, which is not the intent of report.
It should be informed to the people that the Committee Report does not intend to only protect forests. It is not the baby of only the forest department. The report intends to protect the environment and ecology by the people, with provisions made for rewards and compensation. Isolated islands like ESA villages of Golithottu and Alanthaya in Dakshina Kannada district may be deleted from the list of ESA villages as ESA villages need detailed and elaborate information of what projects can be allowed and what cannot. The committee report has not really fully touched this very important subject. Clarity needs to be brought there and explained to people.
In Centre’s purview : The requisition by the Statelevel expert committee to the Central Government has coincided with the plea of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to the Central Government to provide two months of time to reveal its stand on the report. As the ball is now in the court of Central government, related questions needs to be answered in the days to come.