Leaders differ on heritage status to Western Ghats

While the Karnataka government continues to oppose the Unesco heritage status to ten sites in the Western Ghats, environmentalists and Opposition party leaders believe otherwise.

During a discussion on the pros and cons of including the Western Ghats in Unesco’s heritage site list, organised by the Shikshana Snehi Trust in Bangalore on Friday, Food and Civil Supplies Minister D N Jeevaraj strongly opposed the tag stating that the State and Central forest laws were well in place.

The status would mean additional regulations, which would hamper the very livelihood of the locals in the Ghats, he added.

Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy, however, said that the tag would not entail in further impositions. Instead, the status was accorded based on the unique bio-diversity of the Ghats. “The Ghats are our property and no international organisation can impose any regulations,” he said.

‘Fear unnecessary’

Congress leader B L Shankar said that there were unnecessary apprehensions built around the recognition. “Unesco will have no authority over us. There are a lot of misconceptions about the status,” he added.

JD (S) leader Y S V Datta said that it was wrong to oppose the status. He also sought an amendment to the forest and revenue Acts, so that a more effective legislation can be put in place.

He blamed the officials for hurrying through the process, which was creating panic among the locals.

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