Karnataka will ask the Centre to exempt 730 villages from the purview of the Kasturirangan report, which has recommended restrictions on 1,580 villages considering their ecological sensitivity.
The state cabinet, which met on Monday, also decided to seek relaxation of sand and soil extraction restrictions, keeping in mind the livelihood of people in the region.
Talking to reporters, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra said the cabinet had been briefed by a sub committee formed to study the Kasturirangan report.
The Kasturirangan committee has made 36 recommendations for conservation of the Western Ghats.
“While the cabinet has agreed in principle not to extend mining licences or issue fresh ones, we have sought relaxation on the ban on extraction of sand and soil as it may affect local inhabitats adversely,” he said. The cabinet agrees with the Kasturirangan report that no big industries should be allowed to come up in ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs), he said.
The Centre had sought Karnataka’s comments on the report by May 10.
Karnataka’s response to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) will be sent to the Centre shortly, and published on the state’s official website, he said.
The Cabinet sub-committee met for four sittings, and people’s representatives gave valuable inputs, he said.
Boundaries of villages in eight districts under the purview of the report had to be fixed before the recommendations could be implemented, he said. Of Karnataka’s total geographical area of 191,791 sq km, the Western Ghats constitute 44,448 sq km.
How Much is Eco-sensitive?
A committee headed by Madhav Gadgil, appointed by the Central government’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, put the ecologically sensitive area of the Western Ghats at 64 per cent. It submitted its report in 2011. Subsequently, the Kasturirangan committee tried to balance its recommendations with the economic concerns of the states, and scaled down the ecologically sensitive area to 37 per cent. The states are now asking for a further reduction in this number.
Karnataka’s take Okay with
■ Ban on big industries, eco-sensitive tag for 850 of 1,580 villages Wants relaxation on
■ Sand and soil extraction, stone quarrying