We don't want heritage tag for Western Ghats props: K'taka

Bangalore, Jun 15: Karnataka Government would recommend to the Centre not to include ten sites of Western Ghats in the state for natural heritage property tag from UNESCO, Forest Minister C H Vijayashankar said on Tuesday (June 14).

Defending the decision taken at a high-level meeting chaired by him, he said UNESCO merely recognises those "heritage sites" but extends no special financial assistance or benefits.

Instead, the tag would mean that the government would have to seek the consent of UNESCO for taking up any development work in those regions and it would be guided by the UN body's stipulations.

Law Minister S Suresh Kumar, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya, Environment Minister Krishna J Palemar, Lok Sabha member D V Sadananda Gowda and Chairman of the state Western Ghat Task Force, Anant Hegde Ashisar, among others, attended it, Vijayashankar told reporters.

He argued that the state and central laws and other law enforcing agencies can do the job of protecting and preserving the western ghats, which spreads across Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra.

The ten sites are wildlife sanctuaries at Pushpagiri, Brahmagiri, Tatacauvery, Someshwara and reserved forests at Padinalknad, Kerti, Someshwara, Agumbe and Balahalli and Kudremukh national park.

Vijayashankar also said it was decided to declare Kapatgudda near the district headquarters town of Gadag, and Sidharabetta, close to Tumkur, as "medicinal forests".

He said saplings of local variety as well as those from different parts of the country would be planted at an area of 50 acres to 100 acres each in the revenue divisions of Gulbarga, Belgaum, Mysore and Bangalore.

Saplings would be made available near tourist and pilgrimage centres in the State so that interested people can buy them and plant them in their property, he added.


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