Special gram sabha meeting to discuss Kasturirangan report

Special gram sabha meeting to discuss Kasturirangan report

To discuss the pros and cons of Kasturirangan committee recommendations on conservation of Western Ghats, the district administration will convene a village-level special gram sabha. The meeting will elicit opinion from the general public.

The general public can share their opinion on the recommendations, Additional DC Charulatha Somal said. Fifty-five villages in Kodagu district has been notified as ecologically-sensitive area in the draft notification of the government.

Once the ecologically-sensitive areas (ESA) are declared, then agriculture land can be converted to non-agriculture purpose with due permission from the state government and the high power committee in ESA.

Permission will be granted for promotion of eco tourism, construction of eco-friendly cottages and tree houses to provide temporary stay of the tourists. The existing roads can be widened and strengthened. Small industries that are not hazardous to environment, rainwater harvesting, cottage industries will be allowed to set up in ecologically-sensitive areas, the officials said.

They said without the permission of the state government, trees in forest area, government land, revenue, and private land cannot be felled. The surface and groundwater can be used for household and agriculture purposes. The plying of commercial vehicles could be checked during night hours, they added.

However, Forest, Horticulture and Agriculture nurseries, park and other open spaces in ecologically-sensitive areas cannot be used for commercial or industrial purposes. Mining, quarry, crusher units, sawmills, polluting industries, hydro-electric projects, commercial poultry farms will not be permitted inside the ecologically sensitive areas, an official said.

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