Mangalore, Oct 31, 2014 : A meeting held on Oct 30, Thursday chaired by DK DC A B Ibrahim decided to form committees at the village -level to review the ecologically sensitive zones as recommended by the High-level Working Group of Western Ghats (HLWG) of Kasturirangan.
The state-level expert committee to identity Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) in Western Ghats has directed the district-level committee chaired by DK D C to submit a report within one month.
DCF Hanumanthappa K T said that High level Working Group of Western Ghats has identified 46 villages in DK as ecologically sensitive areas. It has considered villages that have more than 20 per cent of natural forest as ESAs. “During the verification, if we find less than 20 per cent of the forest in a particular region, then we can impress upon the government to drop the names from the list by submitting a report. Field teams will verify and mark natural landscape in the village including notified forest, thickly wooded areas, agricultural land, plantation crops, human habitations on village maps for ESA villages as recommended by HLWG.”
The district-level committee should take up necessary steps to create public awareness about ESAs and various recommendations of HLWG in respective districts. The committee will receive representations from elected representatives, NGOs and analyse them and submit it to the state-level committee. The committee will also provide ESA village wise maps to the state-level committee based on physical verification by the field teams, he said.
The DC said that the village level committee will have RFO, GP President, two local members, village accountant, PDO, horticulture and agriculture officer. Village- level committee will be constituted in all the identified villages.
In the first phase, committees at Balpa in Sullia, Chairman, Rekhya in Belthangady, Bilinele and Golithattu in Puttur will be constituted. The committee will verify the ESAs and submit their report to the district-level committee within aweek. Later, other village committees will verify ESAs in all the 40 villages and submit their report.
“Villagers, NGOs can submit their objections to the ecologically sensitive areas identified. We can not propose to drop the village from ESA. We can only tell the actual situation to the government,” the DC said.
The district-level committee will have ZP CEO, DCF, Agriculture department Joint Director, Horticulture and Land revenue department Deputy Directors. The DC said that Kasturirangan report has banned quarry and sand mining in Ecologically Sensitive Areas in Western Ghats.