Udupi, Aug 09 2015: B. Ramanath Rai, Forests and Environment Minister, on Aug 8, said that the State government would not give permission to set up a tiger reserve in the Kudremukh National Park (KNP) area. Speaking at the inaugural of the ’Laksha Vruksha’ campaign organised by the Department of Forests and Environment.
Minister Rai said that the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had not given the nod for establishing the tiger reserve, but the current government sent a proposal to the State government. Keeping the interests of people living on the periphery of the Western Ghats in mind, the State government had decided not to allow project. He added that there was no clarity in several places as to whether the land belonged to the Forest Department or the Revenue Department, especially in areas marked as deemed forests. A joint survey by both departments had been completed and the verification process was on.
Steps would be taken to remove the “non-forest-oriented” land in the deemed forest areas from the classification of “forest.” Such land would be released for public use. Once the verification process was completed, the government would also file a revised affidavit in the Supreme Court on this matter. The released land would be given to the Revenue Department to be used for other purposes. Since there were complaints of elephants entering fields, the government was giving 50 per cent subsidy to farmers to take up solar fencing to keep them away. The State has one of the highest populations of elephants and tigers in the country, with 406 tigers and over 6,000 elephants. The State government had submitted its report, on physical verification of Ecologically Sensitive Area villages recommended by the K. Kasturirangan Committee to the Union government in April.
In the report, the State government had recommended that all types of forests in the 40 taluks of the Western Ghats could be included in the ESA, but human habitations should be excluded. The State government would not allow expansion of the 1,200 MW thermal plant of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. at Yellur in Udupi district. Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake, MLA Pramod Madhwaraj, P. Yuvaraj, president of the Udupi City Municipal Council; and Sunita Naik, president of the Udupi Taluk Panchayat, were present among a large gathering.