Cabinet rejects Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats
Law Minister T B Jayachandra. DH File Photo
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the decision was taken based on feedback from 1,592 villages in the Western Ghats range which have been classified as Ecological Sensitive Areas (ESAs). The villages did not want the recommendations to be implemented as they will hamper livelihood and development in the region, Jayachandra said.
In February this year, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) sought objections from the state government on declaration of 20,668 sq km spread across 11 districts in the Western Ghats range in the state as ESA.
The state government had previously requested the Centre not to declare populated areas, agricultural land and plantation regions as ESAs. However, this time the state government wants the entire Kasturirangan report itself to be withdrawn. “The state government has taken sufficient steps to preserve and conserve forests, deemed forests, sanctuaries and protected areas in the Western Ghats,” Jayachandra said and added that the same will be conveyed to the Centre.
Public representatives and local residents have been opposing the implementation of the report. Once the final notification is issued by the MoEF, the earmarked zone will be “no-go area” for activities like mining, quarrying, big constructions and setting up industries.
In another decision, the Cabinet decided to constitute a sub-committee to chalk out the modalities for implementing an order passed by the Supreme Court in September 2015 on Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah, atop Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru district.
Jayachandra said the apex court had directed the Karnataka government to decide the title claims by both Hindus and Muslims over the disputed cave shrine by giving an opportunity for all the stakeholders to furnish their opinion. In 1978, the property of the dargah was taken over by the wakf board. The ‘Sajjada Nasheen’ (hereditary administrator of the Sufi shrine) had challenged the move and got a decree in its favour.
The sub-committee will meet soon and decide on its next step of action, Jayachandra said.
Scrapping of steel flyover approved
The state Cabinet on Wednesday formally decided to scrap the controversial steel flyover project in Bengaluru that had kicked up a huge public outcry. The government in March had announced that it will not go ahead with the Rs 1,791 crore project following collective citizens’ protest. However, as the Cabinet had cleared the project in September last year, its decision had to be formally withdrawn.
An official burial has been given to the project with Wednesday’s decision of the Cabinet. “People did not want the flyover and we decided to scrap the project,” Law Minister T B Jayachandra said.