Col. C.P. Muthanna (Retd), the President of the Coorg Wildlife Society, has demanded that entire Kodagu district should be declared as eco sensitive area (ESA) to maintain the ecological balance in the district.
With this assertion of Col Muthanna, the debate on the implementation of the Kasturirangan committee report to conserve the Western Ghats has picked up momentum. All these days, only the voice of the timber lobby represented by the Kodagu politicians was being heard. The politicians wanted the report to be shelved without any debate.
Addressing newspersons at Madikeri on Monday, Col Muthanna said the Kasturirangan recommendations had identified only notified forest, National Park, wildlife sanctuaries and its surrounding areas as eco sensitive areas. No restrictions have been laid on other areas. Hence it is difficult to maintain ecological balance, he noted.
“The Kasturirangan report has prohibited sand mining, quarry and red categorised activities in ESAs. The prohibitions are already in force in forest areas. Hence, the report has nothing new. It would not be much beneficial if the report is implemented,” he said.
The report has laid down restrictions on use of chemical pesticides and has promoted organic manure. Without chemical pesticides one cannot check stem borer disease affecting coffee, he stated.
Madhav Gadgil report was not harmful to coffee as claimed by those opposing the report. It had promoted eco friendly coffee plantation. The Kasturirangan and Madhav Gadgil reports have given suggestions on financial benefits, which we will welcome. This will help in release of funds for coffee processing, pepper processing and export of anthurium and will generate employment for the locals.
“To check the work on laying of high-tension line, railway line, hydel power projects, suggestions made in Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports should be implemented,” he added.
B.A. Poonacha, vice president of the Coorg Wildlife Society regretted the manhandling of DCF when state-level committee had visited the district to collect public opinion on Kasturirangan report. Assaulting an officer on duty was an insult to the system and the fair name of Kodagu, he added.
Meanwhile, the Small Planters Association President Cheranda Nanda Subbaiah has said that draft notification on recommendations of Kasturirangan report was not suitable for Kodagu district. Addressing a separate press meet, he said that the statements of the environmentalists that the report was not harmful to the residents of Kodagu was baseless. “If the recommendations are implemented, then it will affect the livelihood of the people. Populated area should be kept out of purview of eco sensitive areas (ESA). It is true that the recommendation has not laid down restrictions on agriculture. However, restrictions on chemical pesticides, monoculture will have its impact,” he added.