Western Ghats Task Force has recommended that a comprehensive protection and development plan be prepared for and implemented in the 13 existing medicinal plant conservation areas (MPCA) involving eco-restoration and people’s participation.
A report was submitted to the State government recently.
It said that such conservation areas in Chigvallai, Chaploi, Vandurga, Chinagad, Talewadi, Gavli, Himmadka, Kanakambi and Shiroor in Belgaum district, Bedasagaum in Mundgod taluk, Yana in Kumta taluk, Karwar in Karwar taluk and Joga in Siddapur taluk of Uttara Kannada district, Hosadurga of Sagar taluk in Shimoga district, Shishila of Belthangady taluk and Gundia valley of Puttur-Sulia taluks in Dakshina Kannada district, the sacred groves of Kodagu district, Inam Dattapeetha and Kavals in Chikmaglur district, Hirekal Gudda in Hassan district and Malai Mahadeswara, Pachamalai, Ponnache Boli, Sambrani Gudda, Kotigudda, Votakal Gudda Deshipura, Somnathapura and Heggawadi in Chamarajnagar district need urgent attention.
Ananth Hegde Ashisar, who heads the task force, said that these conservation areas need to be identified and brought under conservation.
He said that the Karnataka Bio-diversity Board had proposed to take up special conservation efforts in 13 forest patches in the plains by declaring them as “plan region biodiversity conservation area”.
The forest patches are Karpkapalli (Bidar), Guntgola (Raichur), Donimalai, Indargi (Koppal), Siddarabetta (Tumkur), Makali Durga (Bangalore Rural), Sunnakal (Kolar), Jogimatti (Chitradurga), Male Bennur (Davangere), Mamadapur (Bijapur), Makuta (Badami taluk) and Sheribikanahalli (Gulbarga).
Mr. Hegde said that any mega and unsustainable development projects such as the proposed Gundia river valley hydro-electricity work should not be taken up in the Western Ghats region. He said that biodiversity management committees should be formed in all the village panchayats and biodiversity conservation should be included in the syllabus of training being given to foresters and guards.
In another recommendation submitted to K. Kasturirangan, Chairman, High Level Working Group constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel, the task force urged that river diversion projects, forest fragmentation and diversion work and mono-culture plantations should not be taken up in this region.
Mr. Kasturirangan, also Member of the Planning Commission, was urged to formulate a policy to ban mining activity in the Western Ghats.