Govt not serious about report on Western Ghats: Karandlaje

Govt not serious about report  on Western Ghats: Karandlaje

The BJP on Tuesday accused the State government of being lackadaisical in dealing with the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats.

Addressing a press conference here, party MP and former minister Shobha Karandlaje said the government’s lack of enthusiasm could threaten hundreds of villages and the livelihood of the villagers in the Ghats.

The Kasturirangan report has identified 20,668 sq km in 11 districts as ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) in a draft notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

Karandlaje pointed out that once the final notification was issued by the MoEF, the earmarked zone will be a “no-go area” for activities like mining, quarrying, major constructions and setting up of industries.

The former minister said a Cabinet sub-committee constituted to elicit the opinion of the local population had remained defunct.

“The State has hardly 20 days to file its response before the MoEF, but the government is yet to apply its mind to protect the interests of the villagers,” she said.

Karandlaje accused Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of neglecting the entire issue. She said the neighbouring Kerala had already completed the physical verification of the landscape in its jurisdiction and had got the ESA reduced from 13,108 sq km in that State to 9,993 sq km.

She said the Kasturirangan report had several anomalies. The survey to identify ESA had been done on the basis of remote-sensing and not on physical verification. Besides, there was no consultation with the stakeholders.

Karandlaje released copies of a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and signed by BJP MPs from the State.

In the letter, the MPs have urged the prime minister to instruct the MoEF to provide eight more months to complete the process of physical verification and allow some minor mining activities of sand and soil for building works, construction of hospitals in ESAs.

BJP leaders from the Malnad region, including K G Bopaiah and Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, were present at the press conference.

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