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People of Kodagu oppose World Heritage tag for Western Ghats

Staff Correspondent

Five sites in the district were identified by UNESCO


‘The decision was taken without consulting

the people '

‘Local inhabitants will be displaced'


Madikeri: The opposition to the inclusion of five sites in Kodagu district in the UNESCO World Heritage list is gaining momentum.

A.K. Subbaiah, the former Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, told presspersons here recently that the Union Government's motives behind supporting the proposal without consulting the stakeholders should be questioned. He alleged that certain pseudo-environmentalists were behind the move.

Resignation

Mr. Subbaiah said the Chairman of the Western Ghats Taskforce, Ananth Hegde Ashisara, and the Vice-Chairman of the State Wildlife Board, Anil Kumble, should step down from their posts for favouring these proposals against the will of the people.

Three wildlife sanctuaries—Brahmagiri, Talacauvery, and Pushpagiri, and two reserve forests, Padinalknad and Kerti in Kodagu district were identified by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.

Criticism

Meanwhile, office bearers of the Budakattu Krishikara Sangha (BKS), a tribal organisation, have said that they too were opposed to the World Heritage Site tag. K.A. Muthappa, Madikeri taluk president of the BKS, also criticised the move to bring all 16 hoblis in the district under the Western Ghats protected area.

Mr. Muthappa said it would displace the principal inhabitants from their places of living.

The Kodagu Swabhimani Samrakshana Vedike has also opposed the World Heritage Site status and the move to bring all 16 revenue ‘hoblis' in Kodagu under the purview of Western Ghats.

Office bearers of the vedike said that both these issues posed serious challenge to the people in the district.

The members, K.B. Bopanna, and B.T. Dinesh said they would organise a meeting of representatives of political parties and other organisations on July 1 to discuss the issue.

Congress's stand

Meanwhile, the president of the Kodagu Congress unit, B.T. Pradeep, demanded the resignation of the Forest Minister, C.H. Vijayashankar, for planning to include the 16 hoblis in Kodagu under the purview of Western Ghats .

The president of the Kodagu unit of the BJP, B.D. Manjunath, district spokesman Manu Muthappa and the State Committee member, M.P. Sunil Subramani, have also clarified that they were opposed to the move to include the hoblis in the Western Ghats.

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