Eco-sensitive zone villages: Kodavas ready for legal battle

Eco-sensitive zone villages: Kodavas ready for legal battle

Struggle committee against Kasturirangan report mulls many options

Following the draft notification re-issued by the Union government on Western Ghats to declare 55 villages in Kodagu district as eco-sensitive zones, prominent leaders have upped their ante opposing it tooth and nail.

At a meeting held under the aegis of struggle committee against Dr Kasturirangan Report on the issue, it was resolved to take a legal recourse, besides launching a campaign to collect and file 5,000 objections.

The other plans include creating awareness among people of the district through social networking sites, clearing confusions that are created by environmentalists on Facebook, filing objections in the Supreme Court with an advocate hailing from Kodagu preparing for the same.

MLA K G Bopaiah, who also took part in the meeting, suggested re-submission of the objections collected earlier to seek the attention of the Centre.

He informed the meeting that Shivamogga MP and state BJP unit president B S Yeddyurappa is calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi either on March 15 or 16. He will file his objection before the prime minister, along with the MPs from those regions coming under Western Ghats in the state, he said.

MLA Appachu Ranjan said he would raise the issue in the next Assembly session, besides chalking out a road plan for the movement after holding a meeting of MLAs and ministers from those constituencies coming under Western Ghats.

Following a demand for taking a delegation to the prime minister under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress MLC Veena Achaiah promised to hold talks with the chief minister in this regard after the budget session.

President of Federation of Small Coffee Growers’ Association Nanda Subbaiah blamed the lack of political will as the sitting MP Prathap Simha skipped the meeting. Except for Bengaluru MP and Union Minister H N Ananth Kumar, no other MPs from the state have attended the meeting in the past. As a result, the Centre has re-issued the draft notification, Nanda Subbaiah claimed.

He also blamed BJP-led NDA government for going ahead with its plans without taking into account the outcome of the meeting held at Kodava Samaja in Mysuru and in Kerala. During the meeting convened by Kasturirangan Committee that was tasked with the implementation of Madhav Gadgil report on Western Ghats, some people had demanded for declaring all three taluks in Kodagu district eco-sensitive. A majority of the people, however, had opposed it, he said.

He feared that the implementation of the report would do more harm than good with people forced to discontinue the use of firewood, besides fishery, coffee industry and also from taking up other developmental works including airport. Anekadu forest in Kushalnagar coming under the same list too stares at a similar situation, that might further impede its development, he expressed concern.

Former MLC Arun Machaiah demanded the launching of struggle without any party affiliations if the report is implemented in to.
JD(S) leader Bharath wanted to arrive at a decision only after forcing MP Prathap Simha to attend the next meeting, before adopting any pressure tactics on the Centre.

Congress leader Thanneera Myna stressed on organising gram sabhas at every 55 villages to elicit opinions of the villagers before filing objections before the Centre.

Nanda Subbaiah, who raised his objection to Myna’s suggestion, dismissed it as a futile exercise as similar objections collected and sent to the past have not yielded any desired results. The Central government did not even acknowledge it, he said.