BENGALURU: An Indian Institute of Science (IISC) research has pointed out that Uttara Kannada district has lost over 30 per cent of forests in the last 40 years and the Kasturirangan Committee report declared 37% of Western Ghats as the no-go zone for the industry. Despite these warning signals, the central and state governments are going ahead with over 18 projects in the core areas of ecologically sensitive Western Ghats.
What has angered the environmentalists is a letter written by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa opposing the implementation of the Kasturirangan report. Experts are angry with the expansion of Kaiga nuclear power project and transmission lines from Kaiga to Goa which will destroy vast stretches of forest lands.
The Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd proposed fifth and sixth units of the Kaiga power project and the proposal got environmental clearance from state and central governments in August.
It will result in the loss of 54 hectares of forest land near the Kali Tiger Reserve, environmentalists say. The other proposal in the pipeline is the construction of transmission line from Kaiga to Goa which will lead to loss of another 177 hectares of forest land.
Though local residents protested against these projects, state and central governments have given the clearance. The local residents have pointed out that nuclear power plants require humongous amounts of fresh water in a state that is starved of water.
“11,000 Scientists have declared climate emergency in the globe and said that business as usual will no longer work and we have to curtail our consumption everywhere. Overutilisation of resources, increasing pace of burning fossil fuels, deforestation and development and infrastructure projects have resulted in frequent and destructive climatic catastrophes like cyclone, flood and drought,” said B.K. Singh, former PCCF, Karnataka.
He said that if forests are sacrificed at the altar of power projects, the mankind would inch closer to suicide.