K'taka to reject Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats

The Karnataka government is all set to reject the recommendations of the K Kasturirangan committee report on conservation of the Western Ghats. PTI file photo

The Karnataka government is all set to reject the recommendations of the K Kasturirangan committee report on conservation of the Western Ghats, for the second time in a row.

Forest Minister R Shankar, who heads the cabinet sub-committee constituted to study the feasibility of the report, will be recommending to the state government to reiterate its stand to the Centre by rejecting the report.

A decision to this effect was taken during the sub-committee's meeting on December 5.

Announcing his committee’s decision to the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Shankar said that he would urge the state cabinet to reject the report as it hampered the livelihood of thousands of people living in the Western Ghats region, in addition to hindering developmental activities.

“The sub-committee headed by me has decided to reject the recommendations of the report. The report will be placed before the cabinet soon. We will urge the government to convey to the Centre that the state does not want to implement the report. Though Karnataka rejected the report earlier too, the Centre has not accepted the same. It has sent us a fourth notification,” he said.

Shankar was replying to Congress MLC Ivan D’Souza’s question on the state government’s stand on the issue.

Slamming the report, D’Souza demanded that the government make its stand clear as the uncertainty was giving sleepless nights to the people of the region.

The Kasturirangan Committee has recommended that 20,668 sq km spread across 11 districts in the Western Ghats cradling 1,592 villages be declared as Ecological Sensitive Areas (ESA).

When the Centre sought Karnataka to demarcate the ESA through its first two notifications, the state government had requested the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to exclude populated areas, farmlands and plantations from being declared as ESAs.

The previous Siddaramaiah government (on April 21, 2017) had however decided to outright reject the report.

Later speaking to DH, Shankar said that there were “too many” restrictions in place already and the Kasturirangan Committee report would impose more restrictions, which would be detrimental for the development of the region.

He said that residents and elected representatives of the districts in the Ghats had been strongly opposing the implementation of the report and that the government wanted to honour their demand. Shankar said that his committee’s report would be placed during the next cabinet meeting.

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K'taka to reject Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats

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