Udupi, Dec 30, 2014: Shobha Karandlaje, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP, said on Monday that the State government was not serious about opposing the recommendations of the K. Kasturirangan report on the conservation of Western Ghats.
Ms. Karandlaje told presspersons here that the State had failed to physically demarcate the Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) and identify the cultural landscapes within the time provided by the National Green Tribunal. Kerala was the only State which physically verified the ESA and identified both natural and cultural landscapes within the time given by the tribunal.
The Kasturirangan panel report had some glaring anomalies which led to vociferous protests by people in Udupi district. The report was based on satellite imagery and not on physical verification. The stakeholders were ignored by the panel, which also banned sand and soil extraction. Instead of taking the 2011 Census into consideration to get an accurate picture of cultural landscape, it chose the 2001 Census, Ms. Karandlaje said.
She and all other Bharatiya Janata Party MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi recently, and urged him to direct the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to request the tribunal to give six months for physical verification to identify the cultural landscape that was part of the ESA.
There should be a resurvey wherever there was a clash of interest between natural and cultural landscapes. The tribunal must be urged to allow some minor sand and soil mining activities to help construction of hospitals and other basic amenities. “Mr. Modi has assured us that he will look into the matter,” she said.
She said a committee constituted by the Union Health and Family Welfare had in its report submitted a couple of years ago, concluded that there was strong evidence of arecanut playing a significant role in causing cancer. Based on this report, the Union government had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, which had increased concern among arecanut growers in the State.
But this report had some drawbacks because it was prepared in haste. The committee consisted only of doctors and not chemical research analysts who would have identified the chemicals in arecanut and its effects on health. Hence the Union government should appoint a new committee to take a fresh look into the matter, she said.
Import duties on areacanut from SAARC countries should be increased. A good package should be provided to arecanut growers suffering from losses due to yellow leaf and fruit rot diseases to the trees, Ms. Karandlaje said.
Courtesy : The Hindu