Govt removed Kappatgudda's conservation reserve tag at mining firm's behest: BJP

Govt removed Kappatgudda's conservation reserve tag at mining firm's behest: BJP
The BJP on Thursday charged Ramgad minerals and mining company with being responsible for the state government removing the conservation reserve tag to the Kappatagudda forest area in Gadag district.

Making this charge in the Legislative Assembly, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar said the company has obtained a lease for gold mining on 39.7 hectares at Shirahatti near the forest in 2008. It can’t start mining activities if the forest is declared as conservation reserve. Hence, it has been opposing the decision.

The firm had also written to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah a few months ago urging him not to restore the conservation reserve tag to the forest, spread over 80,000 acres, he said.

The government had in November, 2016 withdrawn its notification dated December 19, 2015 that had declared Kappatagudda forest as conservation reserve, leading to a controversy. Not only the opposition parties but also some leaders of the ruling Congress are opposing the government’s decision. Kappatagudda is an ecologically sensitive forest area that is rich in flora and fauna. The decision to declare the forest as conservation reserve was taken by the State Wildlife Board in 2013 when cricketer Anil Kumble was its vice-chairman.

“The problem began after Baldota, the mining company in Ballari, entered the scene. The company argued at a public hearing on the issue recently that the tag was unscientific. It claimed there is no greenery at all and there is hardly any wildlife,” Shettar stated. The government should immediately restore the conservation reserve tag. Majority of people living in and around the forest are in favour of it. If the government fails to restore the tag, people will believe that it has yielded to pressure from the mining company, the BJP leader added.
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