Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said declaring Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive Zone would adversely affect the livelihood of the people in the region.
“…. Therefore, the Karnataka government and the people living in the region are opposed to the implementation of the Kasturirangan report,” Bommai said.
His remarks came at a virtual meeting on the implementation of Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats, chaired by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Labour, Bhupinder Yadav. During the meeting, Bommai “strongly” presented his state’s stand.
He drew the attention of the participants to the fact that the state cabinet had decided to oppose the Kasturirangan report.
The decision had been taken after exhaustive discussions with people of the Western Ghat region and officials.
Karnataka has the distinction of being one of the states with extensive forest cover.
“Our government has taken extreme care to protect the biodiversity of Western Ghats. People of the region have adopted agriculture and horticultural activities in a eco-friendly manner.
“Priority has been accorded for environment protection under the Forest Protection Act. In this background, bringing one more law that would affect the livelihood of the local people is not appropriate,” Bommai said.
Kasturirangan report has been prepared based on the satellite images, but the ground reality is different, the Chief Minister said.
The Union Minister, however, assured the state that officials from the central Environment and Forests department would visit the state before taking any decision.