Kasturirangan panel report detrimental to state: Rai

Kasturirangan panel report detrimental to state: Rai

Former district in-charge minister B Ramanath Rai has urged the Central Government not to implement the recommendations of Kasturirangan Committee Report in Karnataka.

Addressing mediapersons at the District Congress Committee Office at Mallikatta, Mangaluru on Thursday, he said that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, issuing a draft notification on the Kasturirangan report on March 10, 2014, had sought opinions from the state governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Goa and Tamil Nadu.

As far as Karnataka was concerned, it was mentioned in the draft that 1,576 villages in 10 districts - Belagavi, Chamarajanagara, Chikkamagaluriu, Kodagu, Hassan, Shivamogga, Muysuru, Uttara Kannada, Dakhsina Kannada and Udupi districts, covering an area of 20,668 sqkm, come under the purview of the ecologically sensitive zone.

Accordingly, the state government formed a Cabinet sub-committee to discuss the pros and cons of the report. A committee of experts and deputy commissioners of the respective districts, was also constituted. All Gram Panchayats in the identified villages have passed resolutions against the implementation of the report. The Cabinet sub-committee made several recommendations including considering the villages comprising of more than 50% forests as sensitive zones and considering stone and sand mining as regulated activities instead of banning them.

He further said that the Karnataka has a forest area covering 30,573 sqkm, which is more than the standard limit of ecologically sensitive area of 20,668 sqkm.

The state government had submitted its interim opinion to the Central government on May 5, 2014. The Central government issued a revised draft notification on September 4, seeking the opinion of the states. The Karnataka government, again, submitted its detailed opinion on October 20. The state government also wrote a letter to the Government of India on February 27, 2017, urging it to shelve Kasturirangan report, Ramanath Rai said, and added that the stand of the state government was reasserted during a meeting convened by the Central government on April 11, 2018.

Ramanath Rai, meanwhile, refuted charges by Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja who had accused that the state government had not submitted its opinion within the stipulated time. The decision to implement the Kasturirangan report lies entirely with the Central government, and the states can only submit their opinion. Harish Poonja should have proper information before speaking out anything, Rai said.

He added, the state government has already filed its opinion with the Central government, voting against the implementation of the report, citing valid reasons.

"Now, when the Central government is out to implement the report, the MLAs and MPs from the BJP, have been making it appear that the Karnataka government was at fault in clarifying its stand, which is not true."

District in-charge minister U T Khader, District Congress Committee president Harish Kumar, Mayor Bhaskar K and leader Shashidhar Hegde were present among others.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily