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Centre assured not to implement Kasturirangan notification till new panel submits report: Karnataka CM

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chief minister led a delegation of state leaders, including ministers and MPs, from Malnad region to apprise Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav
pic source: Pratap Simha @mepratap twitter handle
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NEW DELHI:

The Centre has assured that it will not implement the notification on Kasturirangan report on declaring eco-sensitive zones in Western Ghats until the recently set up committee to address the concerns of states submits its report, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Monday.

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The chief minister led a delegation of state leaders, including ministers and MPs, from Malnad region to apprise Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav of their concern over the draft notification declaring 20,668 sq km of the Western Ghats as eco-sensitive area in Karnataka.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, Shimoga MP B Y Raghavendra, Kodagu-Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, BJP national general secretary C T Ravi and others were part of the delegation.

Briefing media after the hour-long meeting, Bommai said, ”We shared our views about Kasturirangan report… The basic objection we put forth was that the report was prepared without undertaking any ground survey and without taking opinion of gram panchayats.”

The Kasturirangan Committee has declared eco-sensitive areas in Western Ghats without distinguishing the cultural and natural landscape, he alleged, adding that besides Karnataka, Kerala and other states too have similar objections.

Environment Minister Bhupender Yada, in the meeting, said a new panel has been set up to examine the suggestions of the states and that it will visit each state to take local people’s opinion, he said. The Union minister also said that the committee will study in detail and submit a report. He also assured that ”till such time, the notification will not be implemented,” the Karnataka chief minister told media. On April 16, Union environment ministry had set up a committee headed by retired IFS officer Sanjay Kumar to examine the concerns of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat in respect of declaration of ecological sensitive areas in Western Ghats region.

Bommai also mentioned that a high-level state committee will be set up on the terms of reference of the central committee to assist the latter during its visit to the state. The Kasturirangan report was ”very unscientific”, Bommai said and added the state will take measures to ensure the report prepared by the new central committee is scientific. Last week, the state cabinet opposed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests draft notification declaring 20,668 sq km of the Western Ghats as eco-sensitive area as per the recommendation of Kasturirangan Committee and urged the Centre to withdraw the notification.

The ministry had recently issued a draft notification announcing 46,832 sq km as eco-sensitive area in five states along the Western Ghats as per the recommendation of the Kasturirangan Committee. Of these, Karnataka has the highest area (20,668 sq km). All states concerned have been given three months to file objections. PTI

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