Govt to Center & UNESCO: Development in Western Ghats will take precedence over Conservation

CC Staff
Lion Tailed Macaque is one of endangered species found in Western Ghats. Image:By Kalyanvarma via Wikimedia Commons

The State Govt has decided to reject the proposal of UNESCO to allow certain contagious areas in Western Ghats to be nominated as UNESCO World Heritage site.  The state govt is going to write to the center refusing UNESCO the permission for the same.

The Forest Minister C H Vijayshakar was quoted in Times of India saying;

There is no benefit from the tag. We have to protect and develop the areas, while Unesco doesn’t give any grants. The international body has no laws, guidelines or schemes. Moreover, once these areas are declared as World Heritage Sites, we won’t be able to take up any developmental activities. Why should we allow someone else to control us?”

The Minister also said they have taken the decision to oppose is because – all political representatives in the area are opposed to the move.

An ecstatic former MLC A.K. Subbaiah was quoted in The Hindu stating;

I welcome the decision of the government. The refusal was absolutely necessary to defeat the “mischief” of certain pseudo-environmentalists and the State government needed to be congratulated on this score, Mr. Subbaiah said. He said the timber lobby would not benefit from the decision as made out by the environmental groups.

Nanda Subbaiah, former president Siddapur Kodagu Small Growers’ (Coffee) Association, said;

the decision of the State government to oppose the idea would help the common people, particularly in Kodagu. The people nursed fears of displaced from their lands in the event of World Heritage Site recognition.

Rebutting the pseudo-environmentalist tag, The Secretary of Coorg Wildlife Society, Tarun Cariappa had the following to say;

We have been accused about a lot of things lately, being pseudo-environmentalist, getting foreign funds, etc. We  would like to make it clear that we have never been in access of foreign funds. And we have even asked the Honorable Speaker and MLA from Virajpet Mr. K.G.Bopaiah to conduct an inquiry if he thinks that we are getting foreign funding for our activities.  We do support the inclusion of 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries & 2  Reserve Forests in Kodagu to be added to UNESCO World Heritage site, which forms a crucial part of Western Ghats. At the same time we would like to reiterate that CWS has not proposed to the Centre or UNESCO to include the sites to World Heritage List. It was the Central Govt which has requested the same.  CWS and the people of Kodagu can only wonder why are the political representatives and other organisations are so much opposed to UNESCO’s plan to declare the already protected areas of the 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries & 2 Reserve Forest areas in Kodagu as World Heritage Site ?.  There seems to be a systematic campaign by certain individuals to discredit our and other environmental organisations.

We have been accused about a lot of things lately, being psedu-environmentalist,getting foreing funds.
We like to make clear that we have never been in access of foreign funds. Secondly, we have even asked the honorable speaker
and MLA from Virajpet Mr. K.G.Bopaiah to conduct an inquiry if he thinks that we are foreign funding for our activities.
We would like to retriate that CWS has nothing to do with proposing the sites to be included in UNESCO Heritage list, though
we do support such a move. Vested political represtatives are spreading rumors to discredit our organisation.
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The fact is that govt is trying to oppose due to their support for the timber lobby, the mining, power lobby. There is no logic in the opposition. Pure vested interest. They want to simply loot the forests.

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