Issues of garbage disposal by Gram Panchayats (GPs), demarcation of deemed forests, Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, were discussed at the district-level progress review meeting chaired by the District In-charge Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake here on Saturday.

Pramod Madhwaraj, MLA, said the Union government had relaxed CRZ norms in Maharashtra, Kerala, and Goa. The same relaxation should be extended to Karnataka, he said.

Halady Srinivas Shetty, MLA, said the Forest Department had been given 10 lakh hectares of land to develop forests (a few decades ago), which were known as deemed forests. But the Department had developed forests only on three lakh hectares and left the rest of area.

The unscientific demarcation of the deemed forest areas had affected a lot of farmers. These farmers had built their houses on plots of land marked as deemed forests.

When there was notification for acquiring 40 metres of land for the widening of National Highway 66, an additional 15 metres was being acquired, which was wrong, he said.

Intervening, Mr. Sorake said he would lead a delegation of legislators from the district to meet Forest and Environment Minister B. Ramanath Rai to discuss the issues of CRZ norms and deemed forests.

Jayaprakash Hegde, Udupi-Chikmagalur MP, said the garbage from villages near Kundapur should be sent to the solid-waste management plant at Kundapur. Ramachandra Bairy, District Health and Welfare Officer, said there were six places from Kundapur to Koteshwar, where garbage was being dumped in the open.

S.A. Prabhakar Sharma, CEO of Zilla Panchayat, said Gram Panchayats were ready to provide funds for sending garbage to the plant. But the plant did not have the capacity to manage such large quantities of garbage at present, he said.

Pratapchandra Shetty, MLC, said garbage disposal arrangements should be made in all Gram Panchayats rather than transporting them to other places.

Dr. Bairy informed the meeting that measures were being taken to prevent the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue in the district.

These were mostly seen at construction sites, migrant workers’ colonies, and urban areas of the district. Only one H1N1 case had been reported in the district during the last five months. Awareness programmes had been taken up in the district, he said.

Nagendra Madhyastha, Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), informed the meeting that nearly 85 per cent of textbooks had been distributed to schools so far. The government should increase the transportation charges of textbooks from Re. 1 per student to Rs. 3 per student, he said.

Sunil Kumar, MLA, said that pressure should be put on the Union government to give up implementation of Project Tiger in Kudremukh National Park area.

More In: Mangaluru