BENGALURU: At a time when the State, country and world are suffering from unprecedented floods, heat waves, coastal erosion and unseasonal rains, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai seemed willing to take a step towards mitigating the disastrous effects of these ecological disturbances, triggered by “ill-conceived projects and policies”. Bommai on Saturday announced that he will come up with a green budget and make provisions to make up for ecological losses every year.
“The forest department in the State should start assessing the total green loss every year so that budgetary allocation can be made. This is the first time that such a provision will be made. It’s frightening to know that ecological degradation of the last two decades is equivalent to what occurred over the last 2,000 years,” he said during the National Forest Martyrs’ Day event at Aranya Bhavan on Saturday.
“We hope this will help recover 50-60 per cent of the loss and ensure a sustainable life for the next generation. The green cover in the State stands at 43 lakh hectares (21.5 per cent), which is lower than the national average of 33 per cent. It should be increased,” he added.
“Afforestation means not just planting saplings but involves a holistic approach to safeguard natural resources. If we don’t take measures to stop ecological degradation, it amounts to stealing from the future,” he remarked.
CM calls for strategy to tackle man-animal conflict
The Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science has been demanding governments to assess ecological losses and make a budget. Bommai said officers should also work out a strategy to check human-animal conflicts and consider even civilians who lost their lives as martyrs and read out their names along with those of forest officials during the next martyrs’ day.
He recalled the sacrifice of IFS officer P Srinivas, who was shot dead by forest brigand Veerappan in 1991 at the prime of his career at the age of 37. “These sacrifices mean a lot in saving our natural resources,” he said. He thanked his predecessor BS Yediyurappa for increasing the compensation up to Rs 30 lakh to the kin of forest officials who died while on duty. Later, he had a meeting with officials and discussed various issues, especially man-elephant conflicts in Kodagu and Sakleshpur regions.