Posts Tagged ‘World Heritage Site’
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Virajpet MLA & Karnataka Assembly speaker, K.G.Bopaiah lost his cool with the reporters who queried him about his opposition to the World Hertiage sites in Coorg.
According to Deccan Herald; Bopaiah made his displeasure with UNESCO quite evident and shot back stating:
“I will soon write to the authorities concerned condemning the move. Forest is our base, we were born there. Our ancestors have protected the forest for many years. People of Kodagu need not be taught how to protect the forest,”
As reporters hard pressed him on his opposition and ignoring the benefits of being a World Heritage site. Bopaiah said;
“Give us a separate state and we will show you how to protect the forest.”
Matters escalated when a overenthusiastic reporter tried to drag the all the Coorgs into the reporting repertoire and asked Bopaiah;
“Whether Kodavas considered Kodagu their private property?”
Bopaiah hit back stating;
“Yes, it is our private property… I speak like this only”
Not wasting time in taking advantage of the situation, the Karnataka State Congress President told reporters;
“We are in a federal system. Bopaiah who holds a responsible position shouldn’t be making provocative statements, which could divide the State. Bopaiah should apologise to the people of the State. The Congress will take up the matter in the Assembly,”
According to a report in DNA, Bopaiah has clarified his stance and said he had not made any divisive statement while talking about preservation of forests.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
In for a rude shock after UNESCO declared that certain contagious places in Western Ghats(from Gujarat to Kerala) are World Heritage Site, the political representatives in Coorg have called a bandh on July 12th to oppose its inclusion of the chosen 4 nature reserves from Coorg. In Coorg, four Wildlife Sanctuaries and 1 Reserve Forest was designated World Hertiage Site. They are:- Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctaury, Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Padinalaknad Reserve Forest.
Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan & BJP District President have said that a bandh will be called on July 12th to oppose the inclusion of the four sites in Coorg, a pressure tactic for the state govt to take notice . The Karnataka Forest Minister, C.P.Yogeshwar has also opposed the tag stating that the tag will encourage Naxalism in the ghats.
Taking note of the development, the baffled environmentalists had a lot to say.
Speaking to The Hindu, Niren Jain, coordinator, Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation said that;
the attitude of the Government revealed that it had no concern to save the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats. Further adding that;that it was wrong to propagate that tribal families living in the forests would be forcibly evicted. “Gone are the days of forcible eviction,” he said. Getting the tag had nothing to do with eviction.
Dinesh Holla, coordinator, Vanya Chaarana Balaga, Mangalore, echoed the statement of Jain and said that:
some vested interests were now trying to infuse fear among the forest dwellers that they would be evicted. “I have received many phone calls from some forest dwellers who sought to know whether they will be evicted,” Mr. Holla said. He said that some vested interests who had a stake in illegal mining and quarrying and those who had built resorts in the ghats wanted the Government to oppose the tag. It was not proper on the part of the Government to oppose the tag.
Taking note of the Forest Minister’s opposition who believes that the tag will encourage Naxalism in the ghats, Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group (ESG) told IANS that:
the forest minister’s claim is desperate scaremongering to cover up what truly is a state policy of keeping these mountain ranges accessible to all sorts of destructive development.
T.V. Ramachandra, professor at the Indian Institute of Science and member of the Western Ghats Task Force told IANS that;
It appears that irrespective of political affiliations, all politicians are against the heritage tag and none of them have bothered to look up the concept.
Panduranga Hegde, a leading environmentalist in Karnataka, opined that;
the opposition is mainly from a few elected representatives from Coorg, who have vested interests in plantations and mining rather than the interest of the local people or the environment.
Rohit S. Rao, managing director, Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation, said that;
the Western Ghats was like the Great Wall of China to the people of the State. The Netravathi, Tunga and the Bhadra originated from here. Conserving the forests was the need of the hour than raising new ones. The State Government should support the tag. Adding that – it was important to ensure that the tag should not be used for promoting eco-tourism beyond certain limits. Tourism activities should not spoil the biodiversity of the ghats.
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Jairam Ramesh with U.S. Ambassador Roemer at a function displaying artwork provided by the Ranthambore School of Art. Image Courtesy: US Embassy, New Delhi.
Coming down heavily on Karnataka Government’s request to the Center for deletion of the 10 identified sites in Western Ghats, that come under the State of Karnataka, the Union Minister for forest, Jairam Ramesh told Deccan Herald that;
The Karnataka Government’s opposition to get Unesco heritage tag to the Western Ghats is giving wide scope to suspect that it is yielding to the pressure from vested interests like forest encroachers, mining, timber smugglers and poachers.
He also said that MoEF had first submitted its dossier on the Western Ghats for Unesco’s heritage status in March 2006 after getting the “approval” from the Karnataka government.
That seems to vindicate the stand of the environmentalists that they had nothing to do in proposal of Western Ghats for Heritage Tag. Some Political representatives and eminiment persons like A.K.Subbaiah & Nanda Subbaiah had been claiming for long that the environmentalists in Coorg are behind the move to notify certain areas in Coorg as World Heritage site.
The Union Minister also told Deccan Herald that the tag will not threaten human settlements, including tribal populations in the forest. He said “this is totally rubbish and concocted stories by vested interests people who have been looting forest wealth”.
Friday, June 17th, 2011
Reactions are pouring in towards Karantaka Government’s plan to reject the proposal to include Western Ghats as World Hertiage Site by UNESCO.
Karnataka Forest Minister C.H. Vijayashankar (R) speaking to Media in Kodagu. File Photo.
The Forest Minister even refered to UNESCO as a “Foreign Agency” and compared it to East India Company.
Netas hand in glove with power, mining Lobbies – TOI
Views of prominent environmentalist on the Govt Opposition.
Unesco does not interfere with sites - TOI
An explanation refuting some of Govt Claims.
Untenable logic – Karnataka must embrace Unesco tag with pride. – Deccan Herald
An Article in Deccan Herald
Tag or no tag, Western Ghats will thrive in Karnataka – DNA
Reaction of Ananth Hegde Ashisara, Chairman, Western Ghats Task force. The Task Force seems to be have been opposed to the tag from the get go. Interestingly Western Ghats Task Force is set up by the Govt itself.
Why Karnataka is saying no to UNESCO tag – First Post
An article by Subir Ghosh trying to understand the stand and critical about the Govt move.
Fear of eviction unfounded – The Hindu
UNESCO addresses the Govt’s fear about displacement of people from the area, says nothing of that sort can happen. The areas will still be continued to be ruled by the law of the Lands.
World Heritage tag will not affect life in Western Ghats: experts – The Hindu
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
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.
Saturday, November 20th, 2010
The visit, of the CM, to Kodagu has raised the hopes of the residents. The Chief Minister, has promised to release the amount earmarked for the ‘General Thimmaiah Memorial’, and I do hope, this will result in “Sunny Side” being converted into a Memorial worthy of the great man himself. The CM’s utterances on various developmental projects, I am sure, isn’t plain rhetoric, since we expect him to deliver on his promises.
CLN’s continued coverage of unmasking the mis-information being spread by vested interest’s on ‘World Heritage Site’ controversy, is our honest endeavour to continue to publish facts and present to our readers, the true picture.
Honouring, Major M. C. Muthanna by naming the ‘Army Public School’ and a road in Jammu and Kashmir in his memory, should make every Coorg very proud, that their very own brave heart, has not been forgotten, by a grateful Nation. The people of Kodagu, are eagerly waiting for his statue to be unveiled, at the earliest at Madikeri.
It is heartening to note, that schools in Kodagu are focusing also on extra curricular activities. B.V.B.K.V, Madikeri has done the District proud by regaining lost glory, of Coorg Hockey in the junior section. I do hope, educational institution’s, will emulate the achievements, of institution’s like K.A.L.S, C.O.P.S. and B.V.B.K.V.
Saturday, November 20th, 2010
India has submitted a proposal to UNESCO World Heritage Centre for inscription of 39 serial sites in Western Ghats on its World Heritage List, the Government said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
“These sites are in the States of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The Kass Plateau in Maharashtra is one among the 39 serial sites included in India’s proposal,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasami said in a written reply.
He said a two-member technical team from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Switzerland, was in India last month to conduct field evaluation of the proposed sites including Kass Plateau.
“The report of the team will be submitted to UNESCO, Paris and based on the additional information/clarifications, if any on India’s proposal may be required in near future,” Mr. Narayanasami said.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
The image of Kodagu, as a community which values its culture, heritage and forests, has unfortunately been severely dented by the utterings and actions of a section of people from Kodagu. Coffeeland News investigated the allegations of this isolated group and has come to the following conclusions;
It is therefore necessary to place all facts about the UNESCO Natural Heritage Site’ controversy’ before you the reader who we believe will seperate the wheat from the chaff.
Fiction 1: “Pseudo-Environmentalists” have secretly tried to get the forests notified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fact: The World Heritage Convention (WHC) is an International Treaty to which India is a signatory and the treaty has been ratified by over 177 countries. It recognizes the way people interact with nature and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between people and nature. The decision to scientifically identify and select Heritage Sites was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests Government of India in the year 2002. The Government at the Centre during that period was headed by the respected Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was a statesman and a man of vision. In fact the Member of Parliament (MP) of Kodagu/ Mangalore (Loka Sabha seat ) between 1999 and 2004 was Dhanjaya Kumar of the BJP. It is therefore extremely unfortunate that the present representatives who have been elected on the strength of Vajpayee’s leadership appear to be spreading falsehood that “pseudo-environmentalists” are trying to create the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a fact that the “pseudo-environmentalists” have endorsed the visionary decision of the Vajpayee Government which any way does not propose to curtail the bona-fide rights of local people. It is also important to mention that more then 40 sites spread across seven states (including Gujarat-a BJP ruled State) are in the tentative list and not Kodagu alone.
Fiction 2: That the existing legal and bona fide rights over land of farmers will be snatched away by the UNESCO Heritage Site.
Fact: This is completely false and the question of eviction of villages does not arise under the present law of the land. No International Institution can within the boundaries of a sovereign State like India issue notifications for acquisitions of private lands in the district of Kodagu or enact laws to evict people for creating a Heritage Site. It is only the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka that can act in this regard. Moreso, it is the State Government alone that has the power to acquire lands from farmers. Further, all existing bona fide rights of people over private lands, Jamma Malais, notified legal rights of way, permission for grazing etc. are continuing and no new law is being created under the UNESCO Heritage proposal to curtail such bona fide activities.
Fiction 3: That “pseudo-environmentalists’; will get massive foreign funding from UNESCO
Fact: UNESCO is a body under the United Nations and as per the present arrangement it is Government of India that is the State Party with which the UNESCO is working and only the State Party is eligible for international assistance. Therefore, there is absolutely no truth in the statements that are repeatedly being made that “pseudo-environmentalists” have got massive foreign funding. This is complete falsehood.
So, how does the UNECO Natural Heritage Site benefit Kodagu District?
The long-term conservation of the biodiversity of Kodagu district will greatly help the farmers and coffee growers.
1. It is scientifically documented that the forested mountains of the Western Ghats greatly influence the monsoon weather patterns. The forested mountains intercept the rain-laden winds of the South-West monsoon which results in rainfall that is vitally important for farmers and coffee growers. 2. The biodiversity rich areas of Western Ghats in Kodagu are also precious storehouses of valuable genes of disease resistant varieties of many food crops. It therefore acts as an insurance policy for farmers.
3. The forests not only prevent soil erosion but also re-charge water aquifers and greatly enhance flow of water in streams by preventing sedimentation and flash flooding of low lying paddy fields.
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Environmentalists from different organisations have come together on a common forum to clear the air on UNESCO World Heritage Site after the fiasco during the visit of the IUCN officials.
They have addressed the following points contrary to what certain political and non-political organisations opposed to the UNESCO world heritage site feel about the proposal;
- Only the State governments in the country which have the right to decide on policies pertaining to land acquisition and revenue matters.
- The proposal is confined to three thick forests and two reserve forests and the legal rights of the people living in these areas and on the borders will not be taken away.
- The report submitted by the Centre to UNESCO has not made any mention on curbing the rights of the citizens of using the land for agriculture, coffee production, pasture, road laying etc.
- This is the proposal of the Central government and not of the environmentalists.
- The idea was including the Western ghats in the world heritage list was the dream of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
- If the sanctuaries are included in the Hertiage List, it will help to solve the Man-Elephant Conflict in Coorg.
- Those who are opposed to the proposal are supposedly politically motivated with vested interest to do so.
With Inputs from Deccan Herald. For more click here.