Kasturirangan report sent to Centre to seek relaxations:Rai

The Karnataka government has sent the Kasturirangan report to the Central government seeking some relaxations to make it people-friendly.

The amended report would also reach the expectations of saving the environment, said Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister B Ramanath Rai.

He also said that a booklet will be printed about the new form of the report and distributed to all gram panchayaths.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Ramanath Rai said that out of six states, Kerala had opposed the report as the area mentioned in the report has higher human population density.

It succeeded in decreasing the area from 13,000 square kilo metre to 9,000 square kilo metres.

“In Karnataka, the high-level committee headed by myself has met four times and had long discussion about the report.

As per the report, the villages which have above 20 per cent of forest should be considered as forest, but we decided to increase it to 50 per cent.

So, we decreased the total area from 20,000 square kms to 13,000 square kms, which is around 45 per cent (Kerala had sought 35 per cent exemption).

There is no problem for agriculture, drinking water projects or house construction, but permission must be sought for thermal plant, quarry, sand mining,” he said.

On Niddodi

The minister said that the Niddodi thermal power project can not be implemented. The State government had written a letter to the Central government referring to a letter sent in 2006.

The ministers and MLAs from coastal districts have met the CM and discussed about it later.

Though the project was mentioned in the last budget, it was dropped in this budget. The Central government won’t proceed without the interest of the state.

“We don’t have dual stand regarding the project. As a representative of the government, I would say that the project will not get implemented,” he added.

Rai was not ready to agree that the State government is failed to compensate the people who have come out of Kudremuk National Park.

He said that the government has no dearth of funds.

He said that in Andhra Pradesh, under Forest Rights Act, about 80 per cent judgements were given in favour of people, but in Karnataka, only 16 per cent judgements were in support of public.

The cabinet sub-committee has decided to receive applications once again.

On protection of forests and stopping of wild animals from entering into human habitat, the minister said that the department has decided to dig trenches and fences using old railway tracks.

The District-in-Charge Minister clarified that Kushalappa Gowda, who was killed in tiger attack in Pilikula Nisargadhama in Mangalore, 20-months ago, was not a Forest department staff. Pilikula is a society and it doesn’t come under the department.

“One should not blame me as the department has cheated the victim, because the incident happened before my tenure and then the government had to give compensation within one month. Some times forest department can’t give compensation from the department funds, but has to give from CM’s special funds, considering it as a special case,” he said and added that he would consider of helping the poor family.

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