Karnataka to be ‘more liberal’ on Western Ghats report

Tuesday, Dec 2, 2014,21:55 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Bengaluru | Karnataka Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai today said the state government would adopt a more liberal approach than Kerala when it submits its comments to the Centre on the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats. The government would submit the report before this month end and request the Centre to keep habitations, plantations and agricultural areas in villages out of the purview of the eco-sensitive areas (ESAs), he told reporters here.
We will recommend more prohibited areas as against 35 per cent recommended by Kerala for the convenience of the people, he explained. Rai said the Kasturirangan report had been sent for implementation to six states, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa, and Maharashtra. So far, the Kerala Government has submitted its comments.
After the report attracted widespread opposition in Kerala, the Centre had given an opportunity to the states to seek changes in the report, he said. On several occasions, the cabinet had disussed the issue and the state intends to ensure livelihood of people was not affected, Rai said.
Of Karnatakas total geographical area of 1,91,791 sq km, Western Ghats taluks measure up to 44,448 sq km, including 1,576 villages identified as ESAs. Replying to a query, Rai said the government will not evict families who have encroached forest lands up to three acres.