Opposition to Kasturirangan Committee report – UPSC GS3

Context: Karnataka Government has submitted its opposition to the Centre against the Kasturirangan Committee report as it can adversely affect the livelihood of people in the region.
Important recommendations under the report:
  • It proposes 37 per cent of the total area of Western Ghats be declared as Eco-Sensitive Area (ESA).
    • (Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) are notified by Ministry of Environment, forest and climate change, MoEFCC) around Protected areas.
    • These are declared under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
    • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection)
  • It recommended a blanket ban on mining, quarrying, setting up of red category industries and thermal power projects.
What are the concerns regarding report implementation?
Some States of are of concern that it may lead to:
  • Loss of livelihood for people dependent on forest resources.
  • Displacement of locals.
What will be the implications if the recommendations are not implemented?
Climate change has grave repercussions for all of the globe and specially India, thus, it is prudent that governments accept these recommendations. Otherwise, it can lead to not just an ecological loss but also an economical one, as the cost of conserving these ecosystems will be much lower than their restoration and rejuvenation. State governments should focus on long term benefits .
What is the way forward?
Central Government can firstly focus on implementation of clauses that have wide acceptability and then engage in consultative process with all stakeholders on other recommendations of the report, that are cause of concern.
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