Rs. 6 crore to be spent this financial year for implementing it

The Task Force for Conservation and Protection of the Western Ghats will soon launch Karavali Hasiru Kavacha Yojane to conserve coastal biodiversity in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts, according to its chairman Anant Hegde Ashisar.

He was addressing a gathering at a sensitisation programme on forest and environment conservation for volunteers of the National Service Scheme of Mangalore University on Wednesday.

Mr. Ashisar said that the Government would spend Rs. 6 crore during this financial year for implementing the yojane through the Department of Forests.

Pressure

He said that coastal biodiversity was under tremendous pressure owing to various activities and there was a need to conserve it.

Under the scheme, steps would be taken to prevent sea erosion, protect and cultivate Kandla (mangrove) plantations, conserve rivers, plant saplings and other associated activities, he said.

The task force will identify biodiversity hotspots in the coastal belt.

Later in an informal chat with presspersons, he said the Government recently declared Kollur in Udupi district as the 13th medicinal plants conservation area of the State.

Mr. Ashisar said that the Karnataka Biodiversity Board, of which he is the co-chairman, would conduct a meeting on August 12 in Bangalore to discuss issues pertaining to conservation of agro-biodiversity. Many traditional agricultural and horticultural crops were on the verge of becoming extinct. Different species of cereals and pulses, and seeds of many crops need to be preserved.

Ban soon

Earlier, J. Krishna Palemar, Minister for Environment, Ecology, Ports and Inland Water Transport, who inaugurated the programme, said that the Government would soon ban manufacturing and sale of plastic bags with less than 40 micron thickness.

The Minister said that according to an estimate 2,800 species of plants in the Western Ghats had disappeared. Now only 800 species of plants could be found in the ghats.

T.C. Shivashankara Murthy, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said that the university was committed to preserving and increasing its green cover. Peacocks could now be spotted on the campus, he said.

He said that the university would conduct “parisara seva shibiras” in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu districts for students to keep the environment conservation drive alive.

The two-day sensitisation programme is being organised by the Western Ghats task force and the Department of Forests.

Keywords: Western Ghats