Hasiru Kavacha scheme to protect coast

 The 258 km long coastal belt of Karnataka is also facing multiple pressures owing to sea erosion, encroachment, unscientific urbanisation and development projects. Severe damage caused to the coastal belt due to industrialisation, excessive use of natural resources, climatic changes and destruction of mangrove have posed major threats in the coastal region. These threats call for an immediate integrated ecosystem and biodiversity conservation measures aiming at sustainable development.

In this backdrop, Karnataka government launched Hasiru Kavacha Yojane, an integrated project designed with an aim to restore coastal ecosystem and conserve biodiversity. Department of Environment, Coastal Regulatory Zone Committees, Fisheries Department, Agriculture Department, Horticulture and Port Departments will have equal share of responsibility in supporting the entire project.

The ambitious project is launched at Mangalore, Karwar, Kundapur and Honnavar forest divisions with an outlay of Rs 8 crore in the first phase. Further, the project will be implemented in all the 24 Gram Panchayats of the coastal belt with the active support of local people, farmers, fishermen, Village Forest Committees, Biodiversity Management Committees, NGOs and SHGs.

The Hasiru Kavacha Yojane was planned to take up during 2010-11 with an aim of preserving and protecting sea shore and river beds along the coast from erosion and protection of sea wealth through forest department. The areas in Kundapur Forest Division that comes under the project include Varamballi in Brahmavar, Sasthana and Kodi in Kundapur taluk.

Speaking to City Herald, Kundapur Forest Division ACF Manjunath Shetty said in the last one year, the forest department had organised several workshops in the three coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttar Kannada in which detailed discussions were held with scientists and experts in the field before finalising the project.

The project  comprises of plans to develop Kandlavana (mangrove plantation) besides other varieties of eco-sensitive and bio diversified plants that are on the verge of extinction along with rare medicinal plants, Shetty informed.

Besides, the project plans to develop 10 metre wide green wall along the coast and along the inland river beds. The project is envisaged to identify the natural water channels for cleaning up and arresting soil erosion, development of coastal biodiversity parks in each forest division and setting up of nurseries at each forest range level to grow rare eco-sensitive species and rare medicinal plants and protection of Devarakadu in these three districts.  Documentation of biodiversity plants and species for study and research in association with the Karnataka State Biodiversity Board will be taken up. With the help of educational institutions from the three coastal districts, a vast afforestation programmes will be undertaken.

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