Members of the Karnataka Assembly, cutting across party lines “unanimously” passed a resolution asking the UNESCO to withdraw the world heritage tag given to 10 spots in the Western Ghats in the State.
Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and Deputy N. Yogish Bhat virtually led the House in decrying the “unilateral” decision of the UNESCO to declare 10 spots in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats in Karnataka as world heritage centres.
Members cutting across party lines opposed the world heritage label and urged the state government to seek annulling of the decision.
Responding to the debate on the private member resolution moved by former minister Haratalu Halappa (BJP), Minister for Forest C.P. Yogeshwar said the state government has not received any “official communication” from UNESCO declaring some spots as world heritage centres in Western Ghats, but the world body has announced it in its website.
Mr. Yogeshwar said the state government has written at least two letters to the Centre opposing UNESCO move and assured the House that he would lead a delegation to the Ministry of Environment and Ecology to register the state’s opposition.
M.P. Kumaraswamy (BJP) said the legislators representing the Malnad region, which lies in Western Ghats, were prepared to resign their assembly membership if the UNESCO decision was accepted.
Mr. Bopaiah, who hails from Kodagu and stridently opposing the UNESCO tag, said for him his district was the top priority rather than his position as Speaker. He said he would opt for his district rather than the presiding officer post, which he was willing to quit if the situation warranted.
Mr. Halappa urged government to inform the UNESCO and Centre in clear terms about the state’s opposition, and it was backed by Mr. M.P. Kumaraswamy, H.K. Kumaraswamy (JD(S)), J.D. Naik (Cong.), Vasant Bangera (JD(S)), Y.N. Rudresh Gowda (Cong.).
Ministers Appacchu Ranjan and D.N. Jeevaraj also joined the members in voicing opposition to the UNESCO’s decision.