Kasturirangan report ‘rejected’ by all districts; survey grounded in State
A fierce outright and almost unanimous rejection of the Kasturirangan report outlining a conservation strategy for the Western Ghats has virtually stalled the field review in the 10 districts that straddle the mountain range in the State, according to Chairman of the Review Committee R.M.N Sahai. District committees have been under pressure from local committees and political parties opposing the idea of Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs), and have been unable to complete their socio-economic survey. The proposal to declare 20,668 sq.km of Karnataka’s Western Ghats as ESA has raised fears of relocation among local communities, although the report only recommends banning activities such as mining and thermal plants in these areas. The State had now sought a second extension of the deadline (originally set for August 9) to submit its review report to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The concept of ESAs in the Western Ghats has been a contentious one from the start. Last year, Kasturirangan report earmarked 59,940 sq. km (37 p.c.) of the Western Ghats as ESA. The MoEF outlined a draft notification based on this report on March 10, 2014, identifying a total of 56,825 sq.km in six states that straddle the Western Ghats. Karnataka represents the biggest chunk of the ESA.
 Divya Gandhi, Kasturirangan report ‘rejected’ by all districts; survey grounded in State, The Hindu, 5 (December 8, 2014).