Commercial land conversions banned in Kodagu

A multi-agency committee, which visited Kodagu after the devastating floods, had stated that diversion of green spaces for commercial activities was the prime cause for the natural disaster. DH File Photo

The state government has imposed a ban on land conversion for commercial purposes. In the last two months, the Kodagu district administration has rejected more than 500 applications seeking conversion of agricultural land for commercial purposes.

In the last one year, the district administration is said to have received more than 1,000 applications seeking permission for land conversion. “In the last two months, I have rejected at least 500 such applications - seeking permission for conversion of land for constructing resorts, schools, homes or other commercial spaces,” Annies Kanmani Joy, Deputy Commissioner, Kodagu told DH.

This was one of the major recommendation made by multiple agencies which visited the flood-affected regions of Kodagu. They had stated that the prime cause for flooding was diversion of green spaces for commercial activities.

Soon after the flood havoc of 2018, an 18-member team including the members from Geological Survey of India, Indian Institute of Science, World Resources Institute, Save Western Ghats Movement and state government, had visited Kodagu.

Kodagu is an eco- sensitive district when it comes to green cover and is also an important tourism destination. The area has a lot of ecological and commercial importance and hence a fine line needs to be drawn now, Annies said.

However, the government has been unable to stop on-going construction in the area. Annies said that they cannot do anything in cases where permission had already been granted.

That is not all. The deputy commissioner is now assessing each road project in detail before giving clearance.”This is essential in view of last year’s floods. We are also waiting for the final GSI report on road works to decide the next course of action,” she added.

A government constituted committee comprising additional chief secretary (Home), principal secretary (disaster management cell), regional commissioner (Mysuru) and director of Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre is scheduled to visit Kodagu on Friday to assess the situation and make further recommendations.

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