State Cabinet committee to tour Western Ghats from January 21

Members to meet elected representatives in Madikeri on January 31

The State Cabinet sub-committee, formed to study the recommendations of the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats, will tour all the districts falling under the Ghat region in the State from January 21.

Minister for Urban Development, Vinay Kumar Sorake, told reporters on Wednesday that two teams – under Forest Minister Ramanath Rai and Tourism Minister R V Deshpande – will visit the seven districts and collect inputs on the Kasturirangan report from the local MLAs and MPs.

“We will go to every district and speak with the local MLA and MP, besides the gram panchayat members, to get their suggestions for preparing a comprehensive response to the Centre seeking a fresh notification on the Kasturirangan report.

Deshpande has already had a meeting with Union Minister for Forest and Environment Prakash Javadekar.

We believe the Centre is also not so keen on imposing stringent regulations which will hamper development and affect the livelihood of people in the ESA (ecologically sensitive areas) regions,” said Sorake.

While one team with Sorake and Law Minister T B Jayachandra will accompany Rai to Shivamogga, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, the other team with Deshpande, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar and Co-operation Minister H S Mahadev Prasad will visit Belagavi and other districts.

“The biggest problem we are facing is in Madikeri and Kodagu district. So, all the members of the sub-committee will meet in Madikeri on January 31 to convince the MLAs, grama panchayats and other leaders about what our response will be to the Kasturirangan report,” he said.

While most of the representatives of the electoral constituencies in the Western Ghats region are seeking exemption from being covered under the Western Ghats protected region, Co-operation Minister H S Mahadev Prasad is said to have asked for his constituency (Gundlupet) and district (Chamarajanagar) to be protected under the Kasturirangan report.

Minister Sorake said: “Mahadev Prasad has been seeking the inclusion of his constituency under the Kasturirangan report in order to protect the forest cover in the Mysuru region. Only one village is covered under the Kasturirangan classification of ESA. He conveyed this to us in the first meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee.”
DH News Service

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