Importance of recommendations of kasturirangan committee
- Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai informed the Centre that the state is opposed to the Kasturirangan Committee report on Western Ghats.
- Participating in a virtual meeting on the implementation of the report, chaired by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, Bommai said that declaring Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive zone would adversely affect the livelihood of people in the region.
About the kasturirangan committee:
- The Environment Minister constituted this High-Level Working Group on Western Ghats in August 2012
- Its main purpose was to “examine” the Gadgil Committee report in a holistic and multidisciplinary manner which was disagreed by the six concerned states
Recommendations of the kasturirangan committee:
- The committee report proposes 37 per cent of the total area of Western Ghats, which is roughly 60,000 square kilometres, to be declared as eco-sensitive area (ESA)
- The report recommended a blanket ban on mining, quarrying, setting up of red category industries and thermal power projects.
- It also stated that the impact of infrastructural projects on the forest and wildlife should be studied before permission is given for these activities.
- It stated that the UNESCO Heritage tag is an opportunity to build global and domestic recognition of the enormous natural wealth that exists in the Western Ghats.
- The state governments should view the developments and build a plan to protect, conserve and value the resources and opportunities of the region.
Reasons for the rejection:
- The state government believes that implementation of the report will halt the developmental activities in the region
- It opposed the Kasturirangan report since 600-plus villages will fall under the eco-sensitive area if the report is implemented.
Stand of the Karnataka State Governments:
- Karnataka is one of the states with extensive forest cover and the government is taking care to protect the biodiversity of Western Ghats
- People of the region have adopted agriculture and horticultural activities in an eco-friendly manner.
- Priority has already been accorded for environment protection under the Forest Protection Act and bringing one more law that would affect the livelihood of the local people is not appropriate according to the state government
Impact of non implementation of report:
- According to Dr TV Ramachandra who is Professor at Center for Ecological Sciences department at Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-it is prudent to conserve the fragile ecosystems that costs less compared to the situation prone to calamities (with changes in the climate) than spending money /resources for restoration / rejuvenation
- the changes in climate (evident from recurring floods, droughts, landslides, increasing temperature, etc) would affect the livelihood of all people (irrespective of poor or rich) and ultimately hurt the nation’s economy.
Present status of the deemed forest land in Karnataka:
- The state government has planned to further shrink the deemed forest area from 3,30,186.938 hectares to 2 lakh hectares.
- There have been massive encroachments across the state forest areas at the behest of political leaders