The recent order by the Government of Karnataka is a great setback in protecting the fragile ecosystem of Kodagu. As the President of Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS) I had written to the Chief Secretary of Karnataka during February 2019 requesting the Government to continue the ban on land conversion citing the havoc, severe landslides account of devastating rainfall and due to unbridled and reckless urbanisation of this tiny, beautiful hill district. Luckily, the Government ordered continuation of the ban on land conversion which was revoked recently, apparently due to political pressure.
This Government approval on land conversion will result in sprouting of innumerable resorts, huge buildings, felling of trees blocking the free flow of flood waters during monsoon causing further landslides and devastation of the ecosystem of Kodagu. The only redeeming feature is that a Committee headed by the DC, Geologist and others will give approval on a case-to-case basis for land conversion for commercial purposes. It is, therefore, very important that citizens of Kodagu with the help of various NGOs should bring it to the notice of the district authorities if there is any illegal construction on the hilly terrains. More importantly, the local media should be ever vigilant and bring it to the notice of the authorities through wide coverage.
Any complacency on the part of the citizens in this regard will result in further degradation of Kodagu’s fragile ecosystem.
– K.C. Biddappa, Sr. VP, ITC Ltd., (Retd.) and former President, Coorg Wildlife Society, Mysuru, 13.2.2020
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