Govt forms expert panel to identify Ecologically Sensitive Areas in Western Ghats [%new%]
by Garima Singh
The State government has constituted a State level expert committee to identity Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) in Western Ghats, as recommended by the High level Working Group of Western Ghats (HLWG). The committee has been asked to submit its report within 60 days.
According to the government order dated August 18, the committee will visit Kodagu, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Belgaum districts and will discuss with the NGOs, elected representatives and general public. The committee will also view the natural landscape, farmlands, plantations and human habitations and will suggest balanced appropriate areas to be included in the ESA.
After consulting the people, the committee will submit a detailed report. To help the State level expert committee, a district -level committee headed by Deputy Commissioner has also been constituted. The district level committee will create awareness on conservation of Western Ghats. The Central government had constituted Dr Madhav Gadgil committee for recommendation to conserve Western Ghats. The committee had identified 1.60 lakh square kilometre areas ESA. It had even recommended to ban mining, quarry and use of fertilisers in agriculture. However, several States including Karnataka had expressed opposition to the recommendations. To simplify the Gadgil report, the Centre had constituted Kasturirangan committee. The committee had identified 60,000 square kilometre area as ESA. It had recommended for allowing mining by laying down certain conditions. The committee had identified 1,576 villages as ESA in Karnataka. However, the public had flayed the recommendations and had said that the report has been prepared without understanding the reality. Hence, the State government has constituted a committee. 
 Srikanth Kallammanavar, Govt forms expert panel to identify ESA in Western Ghats, Deccan Herald, (September 20, 2014).