Cabinet panel for 'balanced' approach on Western Ghats

Cabinet panel for 'balanced' approach on Western Ghats

Cabinet panel for 'balanced' approach on Western Ghats

The Cabinet sub-committee for studying the controversial Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats has decided to recommend the Cabinet not to accept the report in toto.

Sources in the government said that the sub-committee, which met earlier last month decided to moot a more ‘balanced’ proposal to protect the Western Ghats, while ensuring that the livelihood of the local people is affected minimally. The conservation measures will impact as many as 33 taluks and 1,549 villages in Karnataka. The sub-committee headed by Forest Minister Ramanath Rai has Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake and others as members.

According to sources, vehement opposition from the neighbouring state of Kerala has caused serious apprehensions for the Karnataka government to accept the report in its present form.

The Kerala government has decided to reject the report in its entirety as the Western Ghats in that state is heavily populated.

With the people in Kodagu, Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts already voicing their concern over the report, the sub-committee will be looking at easing restrictions in these places.

The panel will also consider the population density in the villages which come under eco-sensitive area.

The panel, in its previous meetings had decided to review the state-owned polluting industries set up in the ecologically sensitive zone.

Additional Chief Secretary for Environment, Forest and Ecology Madan Gopal said that the sub-committee had considered every point made in the report. “The sub-committee has made its recommendations by dwelling into all points made in the report. Detailed discussions were held in this regard. They will be come up before the Cabinet shortly,” he said.