'No hydel projects in Western Ghats'

Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, he pointed out that there are one mini-hydel project for every 10 km in the Western Ghats which is ‘unfortunate’. All those projects had been sanctioned by the previous governments. After the BJP government came to power, not a single hydel project has been sanctioned. As nothing could be done at this juncture, the department can only impose restrictions on those already sanctioned hydel projects to strictly adhere to rules.

The minister said there were many contentious issues which are coming up in the conservation of forests and all of them would be resolved shortly. It was true that man-animal conflict was very much in a number of districts and need of the hour was to strike a balance between development and conservation of wild animals. One of them has been restoration of the elephant corridor. Elephants move inter-district and inter-state on the existing elephant corridor. But it has been encroached.

This issue needs to be taken up with all the governments concerned as Karnataka Government alone cannot decide this sensitive issue. Besides, there are rogue elephants in both Kodagu and Hassan districts that needs to be nabbed after getting permission from the Union Government.

Koushik Mukherjee, principal Secretary, Department of Forests, said the State government has submitted a proposal to the Union Government to declare major forests as bio-diversity zones. Once the Centre gives its nod, the state government would force closure all polluting industries and also put restriction on entry into forests.

The Wildlife Institute of Dehra Dun has been requested to study the carrying capacity of forests and then implement the same with the concurrence from the Union Government. The department would evict all the illegal resorts that have come up near wildlife sanctuaries across the State.

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