MEETING WITH THE BIODIVERSITY BOARD

The group met with the member secretary of Karnataka Biodiversity Board on 3rd of February 2017 in the state office of Karnataka Bio Diversity board at Bangalore. The group discussed various aspects with the member secretary. The member secretary was aghast at the lack of executive powers of the board. When asked about the proposal of declaring a specific area of mudflats as Biodiversity heritage site, the member secretary replied that they had contacted the Department of Forestry about it. The proposal was submitted in 2010 and the board has not received any communication from the Department of Forestry about the Proposal of declaring the mudflats of Aghanashani  as Bio diversity Heritage site.

It seemed that the member secretary was deeply concerned about the environmental damage happening across the region but was also aghast that despite being a statutory body nobody in the state bureaucracy is consulting them. He assured the group that the Board will write again to the department of forests about the proposal of declaration of Aghanashani mudflats as bio diversity heritage site.

The Member secretary expressed ignorance about the plan of constructing of a mega commercial port in the ecologically sensitive estuary of Aghanashani. He claimed that they have been sent no official communication yet regarding this project by any organ of the state.

The group also interacted with the deputy director of the KBB who was of the view that the board has limited functions and cannot go beyond that. The conservation issue or the threat to ecology by way of pollution or degradation is to be dealt by  the Pollution control Board. He claimed that the nearby Netrani Island which is under the Administration of Navy, who use it for Target purposes and diving in sea, these practices have been challenged in High court, the matter is sub-Judice and that is why they have not made any progress on the Tadadi Proposal as the Netrani Island is not so far from the Aghanashani Estuary. He claimed that the board lacks resources and powers to do anything big in conservation and preservation of ecology other than documenting them at local level.

Junaid Ul-Shafi

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