Bengaluru: Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has in a letter to Union minister for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar, objected to the recommendations of the Kasturirangan Committee report, which has called for restrictions on a number of economic and social activities over an area of 56,000 sq kms, a little more than one-third of which lies in Karnataka.
In his letter, Mr Yediyurappa argued that the livelihood of many people and the state’s development could be affected if the report was implemented. Observing that of the 20,668 sq kms recommended for protection by the committee, 16,632 sq kms were already in protective areas or Eco Sensitive Zones (ESZ), the CM said more restrictions in these parts would negate the purpose of conservation and be counter productive.
“Besides, in the draft notification, there is no mention of financial incentives that could be offered to the states. Due to these reasons the state government is opposed to the draft notification in its present form,” the letter read, requesting the Union ministry to take the concerns of the state into account and hold a discussion with it before acting on the report.
But the state’s stand has not gone down well with wildlife experts like Mr B K Singh, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka. Pointing out that the Western Ghats have already been plundered for development and infrastructure projects, he says they are seeing unprecedented pollution as well as catastrophe like floods, droughts and cyclones. “This in turn has impacted human lives. We need to place an embargo on further destruction and degradation of these forests. If the state doesn’t accept the Kasturirangan report, it will only keep open the floodgates of destruction. This decision is not in the overall interest of the people,” he warned.
Project Vruksha founder, Vijay Nishanth too says that given the ramifications of the loss of forest cover in the Western Ghats, a major biodiversity hotspot, the government should have consulted experts before rejecting the report....