Environment experts allay fears

Environment experts allay fears

  Jagadish, along with Dr V B Mathur of Wildlife Institute of India, has identified 39 sites in the Western Ghats spread across four states to propose for the Unesco tag.

The Union Ministry of Forests, three years ago, requested the states to identify sites suitable for the Unesco tag. Accordingly Atree and WII prepared the report, Jagadish told Deccan Herald.

He said: “Like other states, even Karnataka forest department gave us documents. The whole Western Ghats range is taken as a cluster to nominate for the heritage tag.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have not objected. NGOs have no vested interest. The states must be proud to get the heritage tag so that they will get global attention. The status will be accorded only if eco system is well managed.”

When his attention was drawn to the state’s apprehensions, Jagadish said: “Getting the heritage tag will in no way alter legal status of the sites. The sites will definitely not fall under different legal category. The laws of the State and the Centre will continue to be applicable. When there is large scale damage to a site, then the Unesco will keep such place under the danger list. It is only a mechanism to improve the identified sites.
Anytime, we can exit the Unesco list”.

Dr V B Mathur, dean, Faculty of Wildlife Science, Wildlife Institute of India, said the sites listed are already classified as national parks or wildlife sanctuaries, and the heritage status will not lay out any other conditions.  

On the contrary, the profile of Karnataka will go up, boosting its tourism and the local economy.  

“WII and ATREE have together identified the best of the best sites in the four states. These 39 sites are unique beads of a string, and we can’t allow even a single bead to go missing,” Dr Mathur said.

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