BENGALURU: A year after the Siddaramaiah government declared Kappatagudda in Gadag district as a conservation reserve, it has now withdrawn the notification.
Citing the reasons for withdrawal, the government notification dated October 4 says representations were received from the public and organisations in Gadag district raising objections about a public hearing not being held before the declaration.
“The declaration of Kappatagudda Conservation Reserve is without complying with the mandatory provisions of public consultation and following the process of public hearing. Further, this landscape is neither adjacent to any national park/wildlife sanctuary or part of a link/corridor from one protected area to another. In October, the Board had considered this issue in entirety and had resolved to withdraw the notification.”
On December 19, 2015, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the Karnataka State Board of Wildlife had cleared the proposal for 17,872 hectares of the reserve forest to be declared as a conservation reserve under Section 36A of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The decision had brought cheer to conservationist who had made efforts to save the biodiversity-rich forest from serious ecological damage caused by mining, windmills, accidental fires and other activities.
Spread over Mundargi, Shirhatti and Gadag taluks, the forest area is home to a variety of medicinal plants, aromatic herbs, other flora and fauna. In fact, for the preservation of medicinal plants, the government had carved out 90 hectares of forest land.
Questioning the withdrawal of the tag, wildlife conservationists from Dharwad and Uttara Kannada said the government had bowed down to pressures from the mining lobby as the hill ranges in this forest are rich in gold and iron deposits and illegal mining had been going on for decades.