Chief Minister gives away awards to winners of KSPCB quiz
The “Republic of Bellary”, as the now infamous district was christened in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, was evidently on the minds of key dignitaries who spoke at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board foundation day ceremony at the Jnana Jyoti auditorium here on Wednesday.
This, even as the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board appeared to have changed its mind regarding its decision to confer a “green award” on Bellary district — a region that has been ravaged by large-scale illegal mining — for successfully carrying out afforestation drives. The district had featured in its original award list announced on Monday.
Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who was the chief guest, emphasised the need to address critical issues of global warming and climate change. He observed that the Supreme Court too had banned mining in the district on account of vast environmental degradation. “We have taken this into account and in the coming days we will put our efforts into setting things right there, towards protecting the environment in the area,” he pledged.
He also commended the “pioneering work” done by the State Transport Department in using ethanol-blended diesel to reduce air pollution, and said that the government was considering subsidising this fuel.
Home Minister R. Ashok also touched upon the subject of Bellary and noted that mining in the region was overusing the resource without thinking about the future. He said that “we must remember what Mahatma Gandhi said — that nature, and its resources, are not our own property.” He also said that the government plans to ban the use of lead-paint in making Ganesha idols from the next Ganesh Utsav, and that talks on this are in progress.
The Chief Minister also gave away awards to young talented students who won the quiz contest conducted by the board. Niharika, N. Rao and T. Prajwal U. Rao from Saint Narberth School at Koppa in Chikmagalur won the first prize and Vivek G. and Sharath R. of Sri Vani Vidya Samsthe at Rajajinagar in Bangalore won the second prize.
“Green” programmes carried out by four industries were recognised. Environment Excellence Awards were given to Vasavadatta Cement in Sedam, Gulbarga; Bannariyamman Sugars at Nanjangud in Mysore district; Lalithadri Coffee Estate at Chikmagalur and Maradi Eco Industries Private Limited in Ramanagaram district.
KSPCB chairman A.S. Sadashivaiah spoke about the achievements of the Pollution Control Board, and emphasised the need to create more environmental consciousness.