Western ghats panel report to be a major issue in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Western ghats panel report to be a major issue in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Highlights

In at least 10 districts of the state, the report of the Kasturirangan Committee, which had been examined by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel recommendations, might be a major issue in the 2019 general election

BENGALURU: In at least 10 districts of the state, the report of the Kasturirangan Committee, which had been examined by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel recommendations, might be a major issue in the 2019 general election.

The National Green Tribunal in accordance with the 24th of August 2018 had set a deadline for the Centre regarding the implementation of the report within the next six months, but the people in these districts, who have accounted for eight Lok Sabha seats, have increased the chances for the Centre by demanding that it scraps the report together.

Last week the locals observed a bandh in the town of Balehonnur located in Chikkamagaluru, which was the epicentre of the protests against the report.

The report, that had been submitted to the Centre in the month of April 2013, has identified 59,940 sq km of the Western Ghats to be ecologically-sensitive areas (ESAs), where it has recommended a complete ban on the mining and quarrying. It also makes it compulsory to reserve a radius of 10km around the ESAs as the buffer zones where only the regulated projects shall be permitted.

“The report is based on an aerial survey and is not in tune with ground realities. All areas that appeared green in satellite pictures were declared as ESAs, which was not scientific.” said Ramesh Hegde of Western Ghats Mool Niwasi Gala (Original Habitats) Sangha of Shivamogga.

The government has issued the last draft notification on February 27, 2017, and the NGT had been asked to implement this without any alteration. “We now see very little chance of Centre sitting on notification any further,” Hegde said.

A war of words has already begun in the state of Karnataka, with the Congress looking for an opportunity to nail the BJP as a headstart to the Lok Sabha election and the locals have roused into the readiness for a confrontation. “We will definitely make this an issue in the election as it affects nearly 1 crore people,” said Nagaraj, a resident of Shivamogga.

However, the BJP general secretary CT Ravi said that it will boomerang on the Congress if it makes the report an election issue, as the Kasturirangan Committee and the Madhav Gadgil Commission were constituted by the UPA.

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