Karnataka Budget: Focus on checking man-animal conflict, afforestation

Envirionment Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) will study major government schemes to assess their carbon footprint.
Last Updated : 07 July 2023, 17:26 IST

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Rs 120 crore to reduce man-animal conflict and Rs 500 crore for afforestation drive in 17 districts stand out as the state Budget's major allocations for conservation while assessing the carbon footprint of major government schemes is seen as a good initiative in achieving sustainability.

The Rs 120 crore is meant to build about 208 km length of barricades to prevent entry of elephants into human habitats, a work that was taken up during the Congress regime between 2013-18. About 312 of the total 520 km has been constructed till now, the chief minister said.

The Budget promises to strengthen the rehabilitation centres at Bannerghatta and Mysuru, and promises two more such centres in Shivamoga and Belagavi to protect and care wounded and sick animals rescued during conflicts.

Afforestation through MGNREGS

The Rs 500-crore afforestation programme in plains through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has been described as a win-win move that creates jobs besides increasing the forest cover in the largely arid regions.

"As per the national forest policy, 33 per cent of the geographical area should be covered with forests. However, less than 10 per cent of the area of 17 districts of Bayaluseeme region is covered by forests," the chief minister said.

Policy intervention

Envirionment Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) will study major government schemes to assess their carbon footprint. Officials said the move is aimed at mainstreaming the 'Green Index' programme announced in 2020.

"By green indexing, we tried to see how sustainable a project can be. The assessment is aimed at nudging every department to incorporate sustainable measures. We realise projects cannot be fully green. The assessment will help in finding a greener path. For instance, a project can become 5 per cent or 10 per cent green by adopting renewable energy," an official said.

The government has also promised to bring a scheme for voluntary disclosure of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by the organisations in the state. "It's step aimed at bringing awareness about their contribution to environmental degradation. The knowledge should help them adopt efficient measures to reduce their emissions," the official added.

Blackbuck reserve

Karnataka will have a third blackbuck conservation reserve with the Budget allocating Rs 2 crore for protection and management of blackbucks in Bidar.

Spread across peninsular India, blackbucks' range and numbers have declined. The IUCN lists habitat loss as a major threat to the antelope. With an estimated area of 500 hectares reserved for blackbucks, Bidar will join Haveri and Tumakuru districts in conserving the animal.

Bidar Deputy Conservator of Forests Vaanathi M M said work on finalising the area for the conservation reserve was ongoing. "We have enough area in Bhalki and Aurad ranges, which may have an estimated 800-900 blackbucks. The Bombay Natural History Society is conducting a study. A draft notification will be prepared soon," she said.

Published 07 July 2023, 17:15 IST

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