Manipal: District level Committee to Visit 21 villages Excluded in Kasturirangan report – Ramanath Rai

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Manipal: A committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner, ZP CEO, DFO along with other officials will be visiting the 21 villages in Udupi District which are to be excluded from the Kasturirangan report, said Ramanath Rai, Minister for Forest. He was speaking at the meeting organized to discuss on pros and cons of the implementation of Kasturirangan report in the district. The meeting was organized at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Auditorium, District Administration Complex here on February 25.

The State government has formed a cabinet sub-committee headed by D K Shivkumar, Minister for Power; T B Jayachandra, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs and others who will visit the areas which are included in the Kasturirangan report. The cabinet sub-committee will furnish their report to the State Government and then it would be forwarded to the Central government for approval.

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He said that 33 villages in Udupi are included in the report and the State government has decided to exclude 21 villages from the same. The committee headed by DC, ZP CEO, DFO and other officials will be visiting the gram Panchayat of 21 villages and would gather information from the people. A special meeting will be called for this purpose. 91% of the land covered in the Kasturirangan report is the protected forest area while the remaining 9%% is populated.

He also said that the report bans the establishment of thermal plant and other industries which cause heavy pollution and the State government has approved the same. The state government has rejected the ban on sand mining and stone quarries as it is a prime necessity for the construction of buildings and other works. The state government has approved the ban of commercial mining and other regulators which don’t affect the life of the people. The state government has suggested regulating the establishment of hydroelectric and wind mill projects, he added.

Karkala MLA Sunil Kumar said that the 11 villages of Karkala Taluk included in the Kasturirangan report densely populated. He also said that the state government and the administration had failed to supply the copy of the suggestions of the government regarding the report to the people well in advance. He demanded for a detailed study into the report as it was associated with the lives of people. He urged the sub-committee to exclude the villages coming under the purview of Karkala Taluk from the report. He suggested to organize village meetings and interaction with the farmers and also discuss the pros and cons of the report.

Kundapur MLA Halady Shrinivas Shetty said that the government should maintain transparency about the report as it was associated with the lives of the people. He suggested for a detailed study of the report by the peoples representatives before the necessary recommendations were made.

The meeting witnessed ire from some as they were eagerly waiting to know which villages were excluded in the report. Farmers whose villages were included in the report staged a protest inside the auditorium and demanded for justice. Vinay Kumar Sorake, Minister for Urban Development pacified the protesters and promised them a positive decision. The MLA’s passed the buck saying that the ball was in the hands of the central government for which certain people objected. Kundapur MLA Halady Shrinivas Shetty said that meeting was following the political path and he urged the people to focus on the issue rather than attack each other.

T B Jayachandra, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs; Udupi MLA Pramod Madhwaraj, Madan Gopal, Additional Secretary Department of Forest; Ravishanker, Deputy Conservator of Forests; ZP CEO Kanagavalli and others were present.

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