Bangalore: The state Assembly on Thursday passed an unanimous resolution opposing UNESCO heritage tag for Western Ghats and shot down Centre’s proposal to declare Kudremukh National Park (KNP) as tiger reserve. The state government will now approach the Centre to delist Western Ghats from UNESCO’s world heritage site list. Despite state government’s opposition, the Centre had approved UNESCO’s proposal to accord heritage tag to Western Ghats. “We will not accept it. We will soon take a delegation to the Centre and clarify state’s stand,” Forest Minister C P Yogeshwar told the House.
The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO during its meeting on July 1 accorded heritage tag to the mountain ranges of Western Ghats. Following this, there was a resistance from the local villagers and people’s representatives from the region. Raising the issue in the Assembly, ruling party MLA Haratalu Halappa strongly opposed the UNESCO’s tag stating that it would create problems for the locals and forest dwellers. “We don’t need UNESCO to tell us about conservation of forests. We know how to protect it better than anybody,” Halappa said.
Members of all parties particularly those hailing from Western Ghats also echoed the same views and forced the Assembly to adopt a resolution. Tiger Reserve Proposal Rejected Earlier in the day, the Assembly also opposed the Centre’s proposal to announce KNP as a tiger reserve and the expansion of Bhadra tiger reserve.
Replying to the question raised by BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat, Yogeshwar said that the state government would write to the Centre rejecting its proposal to announce KNP as a tiger reserve.“There are already five tiger reserves in the state which has highest number of big cats. We don’t need more tiger reserves,” Yogeshwar said. The Centre had recently written to Karnataka to declare KNP as a tiger reserve and also extend the areas of Bandipur Tiger Reserve from the existing 500.16 sq km to 848.62 sq kms.
The state already has five tiger reserves in Bandipur, Nagarahole,Anshi-Dandeli, Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) range and Bhadra wildlife ranges. Bhat said 1,500 tribal families in 142 villages would be affected if a tiger reserve were to come up at KNP. He said it was not right on the part of the Centre to pressure the state in a federal system.