Cabinet to ask Centre to withdraw Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats

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Bengaluru: Reiterating its opposition to the implementation of the Kasturirangan report recommendations on saving the eco-sensitive zone in the Western Ghats, the State Cabinet has decided to urge the Union government to withdraw its third notification on the report.

Karnataka has been opposing the report consistently and had filed its objections after the report was notified for the third time on February 27, 2017.

At a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday, it was decided that the State would urge the Centre to withdraw the notificationsaid Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra.

The report’s recommendations, if implemented, would impact the lives of lakhs of people. The report seeks to declare 1,576 villages in 10 districts —Belagavi, Chikkamagaluru, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Hassan, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysuru and Shivamogga — as falling under the eco-sensitive zone. Legislators cutting across party lines and the gram panchayats representing the 10 districts have unanimously opposed the report.

The declaration of eco-sensitive zone would lead to banning of sand extraction, quarrying and development activities such as construction of schools, hospitals and group housing, the Minister said.

Cabinet panel to resolve Datta Peeta row

The State Cabinet on Wednesday decided to constitute a Cabinet sub-committee headed by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra to amicably resolve the Bababudangiri Datta Peeta controversy in Chikkamagaluru district.

The committee has been constituted in accordance with a Supreme Court order asking the State to try to resolve the dispute amiably between Hindu and Muslim communities by May 9.

The panel includes the Home Minister and the Wakf Minister as well, Mr. Jayachandra said.

In 2015, the apex court had asked the State Cabinet to consider the versions of all the parties involved in the matter of title claim over the disputed cave shrine, Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah, atop Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru. The court had said the State Cabinet should take a call after perusing the report of the commissioner and hearing out all the parties, including the ‘Sajjada Nasheen’ (hereditary administrator) of the Sufi shrine.

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