The Karnataka government recently rejected the Kasturirangan report that aims to bring about 37% of the Western Ghats under Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ).

A scenic view of Western Ghats on a cloudy day
news Environment Monday, February 15, 2021 - 19:24

Environment and Health Foundation (India), a non-governmental organisation based in Karnataka’s Kodagu, has written to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, requesting the state government to reconsider its stance in implementing the Dr K Kasturirangan Committee report on the Western Ghats. Rejecting the Kasturirangan report, the Karnataka government said it will approach the Supreme Court over the uncertainties over implementing it. 

The Kasturirangan report aims to bring about 37% of the total area in Western Ghat under Ecologically Sensitive Zones. The Western Ghat, which spans about 60,000 square kilometres, is spread across Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Environmentalists have been requesting the government to implement the recommendations in the report. 

In its letter to the CM, the Environment and Health Foundation (India) stated that the non-implementation of the report may have “serious repercussions” and expressed their concerns over the same. In the letter, the NGO stated that the implementation of the report would be a “great service” to the people of Karnataka.  

CP Muthanna, the founder and honorary secretary of the foundation, discussed the issues that will get aggravated if the Western Ghats areas are not protected. “If the river catchments like Kodagu, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru. Shivamogga and Dakshina Kannada are neglected, the drought in the state will worsen. Protection of the river catchments is also important in order to ensure that there is no water pollution at the source of the river due to contamination by industries,” he wrote. 

Muthanna further stated that this may also lead to the degradation of river systems and that it will result in increased ingress of saline seawater in the coastal region of the state, thereby making the water unfit for drinking and rendering districts on coastal belt unfit for agricultural activities.

Highlighting how the Kasturirangan report is instrumental in resolving the man-animal conflict, he wrote, “In the past two months, more than 25 cattle have been killed by tigers in Kodagu. The Kasturirangan report is essential for protecting Wildlife Corridors with special reference to elephants and tigers so that there is a mitigation of man-animal conflict.”

According to Muthanna, the recommendations made by the report will be instrumental in averting major natural disasters that Kodagu district has faced in the past three years owing to the unplanned development in the region. Teamed with the climate change, he said, the natural disaster will become frequent and severe.

The Karnataka government is planning to move to the Supreme Court to implead the implementation of the Kasturirangan report, which was a cause for concern for environmentalists. 

Read: Karnataka govt rejects Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats, plans to approach SC

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