Mangaluru, Dec 20, 2018: Karnataka is all set to reject the recommendations of the K Kasturirangan committee report on conservation of the Western Ghats, for the second time in a row. An announcement on December 19, indicates
The Cabinet sub-committee headed by Forest Minister R Shankar, constituted to study the feasibility of the report, will recommend to the state government to reject the report and reiterate its stand to the Centre.
A decision to this effect was taken during the sub-committee’s meeting recently. Announcing his committee’s decision to the Legislative Council on December 19, Wednesday, Shankar said that he would urge the state Cabinet to reject the report as it hampered the livelihood of thousands of people living in the Western Ghats region, in addition to hindering development activities.
“The sub-committee headed by me has decided to reject the recommendations of the report. The report will be placed before the Cabinet soon. We will urge the government to convey to the Centre that the state does not want to implement the report. Though Karnataka rejected the report earlier too, the Centre has not accepted the same. It has sent us a fourth notification,” he said. The Kasturirangan Committee has recommended that 20,668 sq km spread across 11 districts in the Western Ghats covering 1,592 villages be declared Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
When the Centre told Karnataka to demarcate the ESA through its first two notifications, the state government had requested the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to exclude populated areas, farm lands and plantations from being declared as ESAs.
Shankar was replying to Congress MLC Ivan D’Souza’s question on the state government’s stand on the issue.
Slamming the report, MLC D’Souza demanded that the government make its stand clear as the uncertainty was giving sleepless nights to the people of the region.
The previous Siddaramaiah government (on April 21, 2017) had decided to outrightly reject the report.
Later speaking to media Shankar said that there were “too many” restrictions in place already and the Kasturirangan Committee report would impose more restrictions, which would be detrimental for the development of the region.
He said that residents and elected representatives of the districts in the Ghats had been strongly opposing the implementation of the report, and that the government wanted to honour their demand. Shankar said that his committee’s report would be tabled in the next Cabinet meeting.