Madikeri Dec. 11: “The Western Ghats is the home for about 50 million people belonging to the six states of the country. It is the source of water for the entire Peninsular India, and also influences the monsoons. The life supporting and biodiversity rich ecosystems of Western Ghats are threatened today due to habitat pressures. Government of India setup an ecology expert panel and then a working group to come up with recommendations to protect the Western Ghats ecosystem. The recommendation report intended to be “a starting point in a long and what could be an eventful odyssey to understand the man-environmental relations through the eyes of Western Ghats which in the view of its creator can be a gift or a curse depending on how we judge and act”.
Govt. of India constituted HYPER WORKING GROUP to study the issue related to Western Ghats. The commission submitted the “Eco Sensitive Area Report”. The report raised many issues which affects the bio-diversity of the district.
Western Ghats includes six states, 1,64,280 sq.km. In Karnataka Belgaum, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Shimogha, Udupi, Chikamagalore, Kodagu and Chamarajanagara districts comes under Western Ghats. These districts are considered as Eco Sensitive Area.
The essence of WGEEP (western ghats ecology panel which is commonly known as Gadgil Committee) report, that the development and conversation can go hand – in – hand, in a totally democratic and transparent way empowering the local people to decide upon their development options, has disappeared totally in the Kasturi Rangan Report.
Economic exploitation of the resources of the Western Ghats has received maximum consideration while conservation and sustainable development have been totally sidelined and neglected, notwithstanding the various pretentious statements on conversation.
In the final report of Dr. Kasturi Rangan Commission 11 villages of Somwarpet , 23 villages of Madikeri, and 21 villages of Virajpet are included in the jurisdiction of “Eco Sensitive Area Report”.
Mining, Sand quarrying and all other environmental disaster activities are strictly prohibited in the area for five years.
Red category industries are banned in the area. This report affects the diary and meat business adversely. Eco – friendly houses to be built in the area.
The report was approved in the tenure of Sri. Jagadish Shettar, Former Chief Minister of Karnataka.