The Task Force on Western Ghats will submit the biodiversity study report, compiled by it over the last one year, to the Government on September 26, its chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisar has said.

Mr. Ashisar told presspersons that the report, compiled by experts after extensive fieldwork in the Western Ghats region, would recommend specific intervention to the State Government.

The task force had identified 13 places in the region which had a high prevalence of rare medicinal plants. In the coming months, the task force would seek to protect these places with the help of the State Government, Mr. Ashisar said.

A proposal had been sent to the Government seeking a notification declaring estuaries and deltas in coastal Karnataka as biodiversity hotspots. The notification would go a long way in their conservation, he said while expressing concern over the move to divert the Netravati to provide water to rain-shadow areas in north and central Karnataka.

“There is a large body of scientific evidence that talks about the adverse impact this project will have on the flora and fauna of the Western Ghats as well as the fisheries sector in coastal Karnataka,” he said. He welcomed the Union Government’s decision to rescind the Coastal Management Zone notification.

Vacant

About 50 per cent of posts of forest guard were vacant in the Western Ghats region alone, he said. The Government has selected 800 personnel for the post.

“However, as most of those who are appointed to the post seek transfer and return to their native districts within a year or two of their recruitment, a five-year term in the Western Ghats should be made mandatory for new recruits,” he said and sought changes in the Cadre and Recruitment rules in this regard.

Sea erosion

Mr. Ashisar said that the task force was averse to the idea of building a concrete wall to protect the State’s coast from sea erosion. A proposal to build a “green wall” would be discussed at a high-level meeting involving officials from the departments of Ports and Fisheries, Environment, and Forests; Watershed Management Project, Coastal Regulatory Zone and Social Forestry Project, besides representatives of some non-governmental organisations, on September 23.

Deliberations of the meeting would be documented and presented before the State and Union governments, he added.