Eco-sensitive area tag for Talacauvery sanctuary opposed

Bhagamandala villagers to protest on June 12

People from various walks of life have decried the move of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for issuing a draft notification declaring Talacauvery sanctuary, near Bhagamandala and Brahmagiri in South Kodagu, as an ecologically sensitive area.

The villagers in Bhagamadala are gearing up to stage a protest rally against the notification on June 12. The Congress has extended its support to the protest. The draft notification on ecologically sensitive area was issued on May 15. The government has given 60 days time to file objections against the notification. The notification on Brahmagiri was issued on June 1. Though environmental organisations have welcomed the move, the villagers residing on the periphery of the forest are in distress.

Local leader Ramanath said that, “The appeals of the residents of Tannimani, Cherangala, Ayyangeri, Sannapulikoti, Ballamavati and Perooru in Bhagamandala gram panchayat jurisdiction has been sidelined while announcing it an ecologically sensitive area. The residents had filed their objections to the implementation of Kasturirangan report on conservation of Western Ghats. However, the objections have been sidelined.”

According to officials, “A 16-km radius around Talacauvery sanctuary has been declared as ecologically sensitive area. It has been decided to conserve rare fauna here. Any commercial and mining activities in the ecologically sensitive area will be stopped. Mining, quarry and crushing units, sawmills, polluting industries, hydro electricity projects, dairy farming and poultry on largescale cannot be taken up in the region.”

An official said that Talacauvery receives highest rainfall. “The ecologically sensitive area has been declared to ensure that nature is not spoiled in the future. The declaration of ecologically sensitive area will help in conserving Doddahole, Nidumale hole, Bettahole, Kundrahole and Mundrahole as well,” the official stated.

The residents of 14 villages, including Arji, Nangala, Rudraguppe, Kuttandiya, Badaga, Begooru, Haisodluru, Badagakeri, Parakatageri, West Nammele, Teralu and Manchalli Kutta are worried about the declaration of ecologically sensitive area.

Sunil from Bhagamandala said that, “The Kasturirangal Varadi Virodhi Horata Samithi had convened a meeting in the past. MLAs K G Bopaiah, M P Appacchu Ranjan, MLC Veena Acchaiah, DCC President T P Ramesh, Coffee grower Nanda Subbaiah and others had attended the meeting. It was decided to submit at least 10,000 objections against the declaration of ecologically sensitive area. In spite of the stiff opposition from the residents, a decision that is detrimental to the people residing on the periphery of the forest has been taken,” he felt.

DH News Service

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